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June 4 2014 4 04 /06 /June /2014 03:01

 

     "Until I Found You" by Victoria Bylin is published by Bethany House on April 29, 2014.  It is a stand-alone book, and my first from this author.

 

     When Kate Darby's grandmother Leona has a stroke, Kate drops everything to help.  She rushes out of her job in LA, taking a leave, and almost flies off a cliff on her way to prepare her grandmother's house while Leona is still in the hospital.  Not a firm believer in God, Kate utters a prayer to a God that she hopes is listening.

 

     Nick does not expect to see a car hanging off a cliff when he turns along the mountainous roads, and swerves to help.  He meets Kate and is enthralled by her, but had made himself a promise that he would not date anyone for a year because of his past and recent conversion to Christ.

 

     I found this book just a little hard to get into, because it is told from Leona, Kate, and Nick's point of view.  The characters, for me, were so hard to become emotionally involved with and relate to, but that may have just been me.  The plot is hectic and the circumstances almost at the point of being unbelievable.  I probably would not read this again or recommend it.

 

     Thank you so much to Net Galley and Bethany House for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.  All opinions are my own.

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May 28 2014 4 28 /05 /May /2014 01:26

 

     "Somebody Like You" by Beth Vogt is published by Howard publishing on May 13, 2014.  It is a stand-alone novel.

     Haley Ames is a new widow and pregnant.  Her husband, Sam Ames, was killed in Afghanistan before she had the chance to tell him about their baby.  She grieves, and is stunned when Sam shows up on her doorstep.

     Stephen Ames has not been close to his identical twin brother since high school, so when he hears of his brother's death, he seeks out his twin's widow for some closure on the last years of his life.  Unfortunately, she mistakes him for her dead husband and holds him at gunpoint.

     I really enjoyed this book, more than I thought I would.  I have read everything by this author, so I was excited about this book, until I read the plot.  The plot did not really intrigue me, so I stalled in reading it.  When I started it, however, I was drawn in as always by this author.  The characters really had an emotional depth unlike any other.  Haley and Stephen were so relatable in their hurts and struggles.  The plot was definitely unique, but not in a bad way.  I sincerely enjoyed this book; it way exceeded my expectations.

     Thank you so much to Net Galley and Howard publishers for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own.

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May 21 2014 4 21 /05 /May /2014 02:44

 

     Taken from Kylie Bisutti's book "I'm No Angel", this short daily devotional is published by Tyndale House.  It has a beautiful cover in my opinion: simple, pink, and sporty yet elegant.  It is only 65 pages, so the portions every day are small, but still they are profound and humbling.  I really like that it focuses on your relationship with God and how to improve your inner beauty.  The book itself is pocket-size in paperback, or currently free on Kindle, at the time this post was written.  Kylie Bisutti was a Victoria's Secret Angel model, until she decided to become a role model and make it a goal to live out her life as a Proverbs 31 wife and woman.  I read her autobiography when it was free on Kindle, and really, really enjoyed it.  Mrs. Bisutti is down to earth and honest, and is not telling her story just to condemn or make money, but to show other girls where beauty comes from and encourages them to grow in their faith. 

 

     Thank you so much to Tyndale House for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  I really enjoyed it; the simplicity and beauty of both the book and the love of God was magnificent.  I would love to see more from this author! All opinions are my own.

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May 14 2014 4 14 /05 /May /2014 23:59

 

     Body and Soul

 "Body and Soul" was written by Bethany Hamilton by HarperCollins Publishing.

This book is a great way to inspire girls to want to live a better lifestyle, and to be strong in the faith, body and health.  It encourages them to build confidence and think positively of themselves.  The author, Bethany Hamilton, is a wonderful role model herself.  As a shark-attack survivor, Bethany has one arm and a positive attitude. Hers is a story of determination and faith. 

  I think this book is a great guide to a "fit, fun and fabulous life" ( see cover) full of faith.  Its pages holds a step-by-step guide to building confidence, plus illustrated workouts and recipes for healthy, delicious recipes.  

Overall, I think this is an inspiring  book that is full of helpful tips and challenges, beautifully written by an inspiring author.  I like this book because it inspired me to reach for my goals, think positively, build confidence in myself and eat healthier.  It makes me feel better about myself, inside and out. 

Thank you to the Booklook Bloggers program and HarperCollins Publishing for giving me a copy of this book to review.  All opinions are my own, and honest.  I was not paid to give a positive review.

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May 7 2014 4 07 /05 /May /2014 01:57

 

     "Meant to Be Mine" by Becky Wade is the second book in the Porter Family series, the sequel to "Undeniably Yours      ". It was pulished by Bethany House on April 29, 2014.

 

     Celia Park has had a crush on Ty Porter since high school, when she moved to Holley, Texas.  After college they happen to reunite when her friend takes her to watch him bull-riding in LA. They hook up and hang out for the next four days, until Ty impulsively asks her to marry him.  She agrees, but come morning, he remembers that he's actually in love with a girl in Texas, and leaves. For the next five and a half years, he never contacts her, neither of them reaches towards a divorce, and Celia never tells him about their five year old, Disney princess crazed daughter Addie.

 

     Well, five and a half years later, Ty rides by the place in LA where the impromptu wedding occurred, and gets in touch with her.  And, quite frankly, that's where their story begins.  Or rather, re-begins.

 

     I absolutely love this book and this author.  I have an annual Valentine's Day tradition of re-reading her first book, "My Stubborn Heart", and I thought she could not one-up "Undeniably Yours".  Boy was I wrong.  I cannot wait for the next book!  The characters were relatable and emotionally understandable.  The setting and dialogue were as real as ever, and the plot was sweet and kept me up until the wee hours of the morning, but it was worth almost falling asleep standing up the next day! Addie was as cute as she could be, and secondary characters like Celia's surfer uncle were involved in the storyline.

 

     Thank you to Bethany House for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, and am excited for the rest of the series.  All opinions are my own.

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April 30 2014 4 30 /04 /April /2014 00:26

   

 

     "Plots and Pans" is written by Kelly Eileen Hake, daughter of Cathy Marie Hake.  It is a stand-alone book and was published on April 1, 2014 by Barbour Publishers.

 

     Jessalyn Culpepper has been wounded in her past when her ranching father sent her away from their Texas homestead to an English boarding school, in hopes that she would become a fine young lady like her late mother was.  Jessalyn constantly misbehaves and wants desperately to go home; when her father dies, she makes that trip.

 

     Tucker Carmichael has worked on the Culpepper's land for a least half a decade.  When his boss dies, he inherits an unexpected portion of the land, alongside Ed, the boss's son and Jessalyn's brother.  When she returns one night, he is surprised to see how much she has grown, but is wary of giving her any jobs on the land because he wants to protect her.  She continues rebelling against the rules, and because her brother left on a business trip, he's put in charge of her.

 

     This book reminded me of "Fancy Pants" by Cathy Marie Hake in some ways, so I would not recommend reading the two back-to-back or you may get confused.  Overall, though, this was a decent story.  I really enjoyed the background information on Jess; it helped me feel her pain and understand her.  Tucker was a lot shadier on how he came to work with the Culpeppers and his family background and upbringing, but still was a fairly solid character.  The plot was mainly about the characters finding themselves and each other, and while that is good and I did not put it down, it's not something so magnificent I would read it again.  It begins slowly but remains pretty steady throughout the book, except towards the end where the resolution super-speeds up to the closing.  The setting was your typical Western ranch, but it and the dialogue were good.  I would recommend this book as a simple yet heartfelt read.

 

     Thank you so much to Net Galley and Barbour Publishers for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own.

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April 23 2014 4 23 /04 /April /2014 23:48

 

     "Caught it the Middle" by Regina Jennings was published by Bethany House on April 1, 2014.  It is the third book in the "Ladies of Caldwell County" series, with the first being "Sixteen Acres and a Bride", and the second being "Love in the Balance".  I read "Sixteen Acres and a Bride", and thoroughly enjoyed it, and own the second in the series but have yet to read it.  Both the first and the third would be good as stand-alones, although there are small details that tie the stories together and add additional background information.

 

     Anne Tillerton is a widow of an abusive husband.  She ditched dresses and the society that turned their faces away in her distress to become a buffalo hunter with a group of Indians and cowboys.  On her way into town to fetch a new cook for the group, the cook skips town and leaves Anne her son Sammy.  Anne is dumbfounded as to what to do, but ends up turning to Nick Lovelace, her friend Molly's (from "Love in the Balance") brother that she became reacquainted with on the train into town.

 

     Nickolas Lovelace knows that his reputation as railroad businessman running for office will be damaged if he helps his sister's friend out, but how can he resist when she obviously has no idea what to do with a baby?

 

     This story has several similarities to "Fair Play" by Deeanne Gist, which releases May 6: woman of unusual occupation teams up with high-faultin' man to save abandoned baby.  For me, it was somewhat difficult to grow attached to the characters, because I felt as if I had already been through their stories.  Granted, "Fair Play" isn't even out yet, so it's really 'not fair' for me to make this point. 

 

     Anne and Sammy were still charming to me, but I did not care for Nick.  The reason that Anne and Sammy tugged on my heartstrings was because of their backgrounds and experiences in life (obviously there's less of that for Sammy, because he's a baby, but he still had a hard life).  I understood why they reacted as they did, whether or not I agreed with it.  As for Nick, I just did not care for him.  He seemed too gullible and foolish, and rash on making decisions.  The setting was quaint, but nothing that would alone draw me into the book.  It was kind of TV-ish, if you know what I mean.  It seemed just like I called it: a setting, not a way of life, an interesting culture, or anything intriguing; it was just a setting waiting for the director to change it for the next scene.  The plot would have been better if characters such as Nick and several secondary characters had been stronger.  The resolution came too quickly and neatly for my taste; again, it was if it was on TV.

 

     Thank you to Bethany House publishers for letting me read and review this book.  I would recommend it because it was a sweet story, and would make for a quick read on a summer day. 

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April 16 2014 4 16 /04 /April /2014 00:45

 

*Note: This book is currently on sale for $3.99 on Kindle.  Click on the link above to be redirected to amazon.com.*

 

     "Love Comes Calling" by Siri Mitchell was published by Bethany House on March 4, 2014.

 

     Ellis Eton is an aspiring actress who is having trouble passing her classes at college.  Juggling her lack of attention, bad friends, and almost-boyfriends, she has a lot on her hands.  After she drops out, Ellis plans to go straight to Hollywood; however, her good friend and look-alike Jamie's parent dies, and Ellis must temporarily fill in for her at Jamie's job of being a "hello girl".  Ellis sees it as the ultimate acting opportunity and seizes the chance without any training on connecting calls.  Meanwhile, she overhears a dangerous plot that she believes could put the life of a dear friend in danger.

 

     Griffin Phillips has admired Ellis from afar, but she continually avoids his advances.  He's tried and tried to talk to her, but she keeps skittering off.

 

     Personally, I found it hard to stay engaged with the characters because Ellis frequently jumped everywhere with her thoughts, and it was hard for me to follow, yet funny; however, a whole book of it gets old.  The setting and plot were unique, and the message of accepting yourself as you are because that's the condition that God's going to use you in was excellent.  It was just the character leading me there that made it hard to remain with the story.  I have read other works by this author and have thoroughly enjoyed it, and I know every time that someone writes something, they go out on a limb, because you never know what will grab readers.  I applaud this book and would recommend it.  The message is great and the author superb.  I just wouldn't necessarily read it again.

 

     Thank you so much to Bethany House publishers for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own.

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April 9 2014 4 09 /04 /April /2014 23:43

 

 

 

"Young Women of Faith Bible"

 

     "Young Women of Faith Bible" is published by ZonderKidz and was released on March 11, 2014.

     I very much enjoyed the quality of "Young Women of Faith Bible" and found it pleasingly durable.  Also, I liked the side notes here and there around the margins. I appreciate the font size and how it was very readable and found the content translation clearly understandable.  I find favor in how each book begins asking:

"Who wrote this book?",

"Why was this book written?",

"What do we learn about God in this book?",

"When did this happen?",

and also,

"What are some of the stories in this book?"

and so they answer each of the questions that is known to mankind, or respond with estimates for what is not known.

     I recommend ages of all kinds, specifically ages eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, and possibly thirteen.  This book is availible on amazon.com in leatherback and hardback.  

     I would like to thank both ZonderKidz publishing and the Book Look 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 other than this book itself.

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April 2 2014 4 02 /04 /April /2014 01:24

 

     "Traces of Mercy"

     "Traces of Mercy" is written by Michael Landon, Jr. and Cindy Kelley, and published by David C. Cook publishers on October 1, 2013.  It is the first book in the new "Mercy Medallion Trilogy", the second releasing October 1, 2014 and entitled "Finding Mercy: A Novel".

     Mercy wakes up after an accident and cannot remember who she is.  In this novel, she searches for her identity and past, set during the wake of the War Between the States.

     I have seen a few films directed by Michael Landon Jr. and loved his dad's acting.  I did not know that Michael Landon Jr. was an author, so I decided to try this one out.  I am also fairly interested in the Civil War, so that was a bonus.  As it turns out, this book has it all: befuddled heroine whom therefore keeps you reading to find out what happens to her, setting of the post-Civil War, romance, and mystery. 

     Thank you so much to Net Galley and David C. Cook publishing company for providing me with an advanced electronic copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not affected by the publisher or Net Galley in any way.  Thanks!

 

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