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March 26 2014 4 26 /03 /March /2014 20:05

 

     "Fair Play"

     "Fair Play" is written by Deeanne Gist and is somewhat of a sequel to "Into the Whirlwind      ". It is published by Howard books and will be released on May 6, 2014.

 

     Billy Jack Tate was named after her grandfathers on both sides.  She's not a rough-and-tough tomboy by any means; instead, she's a city girl striving for her place in a society full of men.  She has worked hard and graduated cum laude to become a doctor.  Even though she has practiced for seven years in many important places, no one will come to her door.  Thus, when offered a job at the Chicago World's Fair of 1893, she agrees.  Mostly, when she works there Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, it's just bad cases of dehydration or fainting.  On her days off, she works at her own practice, but no one ever stops by; ergo, she also is a speaker for women's rights.

 

     Hunter Scott is a Texas Ranger on duty as a watchman of the Women's building of the World's fair: where all the women and their inventions, jewels of international queens and Billy are.  It's one of the lowest jobs he can imagine.  He wants to be promoted and tries to take on extra shifts, but soon a medical problem blocks him.

 

     The two of them form an unconventional and unlikely friendship.  But their feelings and relationship with each other is tested as they spend more and more time in the poorer parts of town, making friends with the children and playing with them, so as to try and keep them out of trouble.

 

     I really enjoyed this book.  Its unique setting drew me in, and the characters were irresistible.  Even the secondary characters tugged on my heartstrings.  The plot was fairly unpredictable.  Overall, I enjoyed this book.  While I read "Into the Whirlwind", I found that this one made for a good stand alone.  The only thing really tying the two books together is the same time period/setting and a little scene where the characters make small talk in passing.  Personally, I liked this one better than the first.

 

     Thank you to Net Galley and Howard books 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 the book itself.

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March 19 2014 4 19 /03 /March /2014 00:47

 

     "Dare to Love Again"

     "Dare to Love Again" by Julie Lessman and published by Revell on January 7, 2014.  It is the sequel to "Love at Any Cost      " in the series "The Heart of San Francisco".

 

     Allison McClaire, the cousin of last book's protagonist Cassie McClaire, is excited to begin life as a teacher in the new school she, her mother, and Cassie began recently.  It's kind of on the seedy side of town, but the McClaires wanted to give the opportunity for better education to unprivileged kids.  Allison is itching for her own independence after having her heart broken by three different men.

 

     Nick Barone [long E] is a detective agent for the police.  Logan McClaire, Allison's uncle, hires Nick to help out around the school and watch the women.  Later, when Alli wants more freedom, Logan gets Nick to teach her jiu-jitsu as self-defense.  However, Nick has to promise not to fall in love with her because of all her previous heartbreak.  Seeing as all the two have had together are several fiery conversations, Nick does not see that as becoming a problem.

 

     I really, really enjoyed this book.  The characters and dialogue were laugh-out-loud funny, and the message a blessing.  The plot was well thought out, and the scenes both heartwarming and frustrating.  There were several twists and turns that I did not see coming; I could not put this book down both because of the surprises and because of my attachment to the characters.  They were so charming; not only the main two, but also the supporting characters, really worked together to make a wonderful story. 

 

     Thank you so much to Revell and Net Galley for providing me with an e-copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my honest own, and they were not affected in any way except by the book itself.

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March 13 2014 5 13 /03 /March /2014 00:06

 

 

     "Becoming Myself"

     "Becoming Myself" is written by Stasi Eldredge and published by David C. Cook on August 1, 2013.  This is a wonderful book on finding our new identity through Christ Jesus.

 

     My mom, sister, and friend have all read this book or are currently reading it.  There are videos online that correlate with this book as well.  Overall, this was a breath of fresh air; I could free myself from all the "you're not good enough"'s because I don't have to be good enough-my God is, and that is all that matters! Hallelujah! Because Christ came down to earth to die for us, we are one with Him.  Because we are one with Him, we do not have to worry about how we do not measure up; our God's grace is sufficient for all our needs.  We do not have to worry about what the future holds; we do not have to beat ourselves up or take on condemnation from others because of our shortcomings.  Our God is sovereign and that is enough for me to rest in.

 

     Thank you so much to Net Galley and David C. Cook publishing group for letting me read and review this book. 

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March 5 2014 4 05 /03 /March /2014 23:08

The Dancing Master

 

     "The Dancing Master"

     "The Dancing Master" by Julie Klassen is published by Bethany House on January 7, 2014.  It is a stand-alone book.

     Alec Valcourt and his family are a mess.  Because of an incident with his father and one of the family's dancing academy's students, the Valcourts are disgraced and forced to flee London to avoid charges.  Alec, his mother, and his sister come to live with his uncle on his mother's side in Beaworthy.  Alec attempts to open a dancing and fencing academy in Beaworthy so he can provide for his mother and sister.  However, no one will open up, and everyone looks at him with suspicion and disdain.  Alec can't figure out why; no word of the reason for their sudden departure from London has been leaked.  Then he finds out that Beaworthy has a most unusual, unspoken rule: no dancing.

     Julia Midwinter is sick and tired of not being able to attend a ball or party, and wants desperately to go to London, but her mother, Lady Amelia Midwinter, forbids it.  Lady Amelia has declared that there be no dancing, and no dancing masters, in Beaworthy.  When Julia meets Alec, she flirts constantly with him, as she has with all other men because her father never loved her. 

     This book, honestly, was very lackluster for me.  The research done and time invested were very apparent, and the effort was incredible, but I just could not make myself enjoy the book.  I have read several of this author's books and have always been impressed with the details and intricacy of her books, but this just did not seem to measure up to them.  It is advertised as being a historical romantic mystery, but there was no romance to the romance - only frustration, and no mystery to the mystery - only a lack of communication.  The characters were deep in their pains and their past, but the reconciliation was abrupt and deficient.  I think that the characters were excellent and very interesting, by only looking at their backgrounds, and can tell the author is amazing creative.  Mainly, it was the plot lacking.  The characters pretty much just sit around all day, except Alec occasionally gets harassed by the town's wrestling champs.  Overall, there was a lot of potential for this book, but even about halfway through, nothing really notable had happened! I wanted to like this book, truly, because I have such high expectations for this author after having read her previous works.  As I mentioned before, the characters were superb, but that was all.

     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; I was not required to write a positive review.

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February 26 2014 4 26 /02 /February /2014 10:00

 

     "Princess Ever After"

     "Princess Ever After" is written by Rachel Hauck and is the second book in the "Royal Weddings" series, the first being "Once Upon a Prince      ".  "Princess Ever After" was published by Zondervan on February 4, 2014. 

 

     Regina Beswick is a simple, southern sweetheart.  She loves fixing up old, classic cars and is content doing just that.  Her great-grandmother Alice always used to play princess with Reggie, but that's just a sweet memory in the past to her.  But can you blame her? Her great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother are all dead.  Her dad wants her to return to her old business job, as does her flirtatious friend Mark, but all she wants to do is fix up cars.

 

     Tanner Burkhardt knows his job is not the least pressure-filled, and that this assignment will be particularly awkward.  It's not like it's everyday you have to fly across an ocean, find a small-town girl, and tell her that she must come with you, a complete stranger, and run this kingdom of Hessenburg.  She probably hadn't even ever been out of the country! But a duty is a duty, especially when dispatched by King Nathaniel, so he goes to find Regina Beswick and inform her that's she's royalty.

 

     This book is obviously not going to be realistic.  If you want a sweet, contemporary princess/romance story to pass the time on an idle day, this is for you.  It's not much better than the first, but it wasn't bad.  Both books just seemed to have a similar storyline: small town, southern, American girl becomes royalty.  Poof.  It's basically "The Princess Diaries" all over again, except now in the Christian market.  The characters do have their quirks, though, and the description of the setting sounds lovely.  Overall, it's a nice read, yet not one I would pick up over and over again.

 

     Thanks to Zondervan and Netgalley for providing me with an advanced copy to read and review.  All opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review.

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February 19 2014 4 19 /02 /February /2014 01:54

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     "Riley Mae and the Ready Eddy Rapids"

 

     "Riley Mae and the Ready Eddy Rapids"  is written by Jill Osborne and is the second book in "The Good News Shoes" series, the first being "Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek      ".  This book is published by Zonderkids.

     After a traumatic experience at Half Dome in Yosemite, Riley and her family are sent to Montana for safety reasons.  After a rough landing caused by the plane taking Riley there, all Riley wants is to go back home to her friends, school, and church.  Then she meets Sunday, an optimistic ten-year-old boy battling leukemia. After several scrapes and bruises from practicing wrestling the rapids, Riley feels ready for the challenge.   Everything seems as bright as Riley's gold painted toenails, but things are more different than they seem.  Riley very soon learns that life is as unpredictable as the churning waters of the rapids, and mysterious surprises come around every corner.

     I liked this book because Riley is always trusting God in whatever she does and is trying to help her friend, Rusty, grow stronger in her walk with the Lord.  I also liked this book because the plot was well thought out, unique, and very exciting.  The characters were original and were relatable in the way that they had problems similar to everyday life.

     Thank you to the Book Sneeze/Book Look program, and Zonderkidz publishing.  I would recommend this book to girls ages 10-12.

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February 12 2014 4 12 /02 /February /2014 01:26

   

 

     "Dancing with Fireflies" is written by Denise Hunter and is the sequel to "Barefoot Summer" in the "Chapel Springs Romance" series.  Both books are published by HarperCollins publishing; "Dancing with Fireflies" is set to release on March 11, 2014.

     This book picks up right where "Barefoot Summer" left off.  Madison and Beckett are happy and in love, and Jade, Madison's younger sister, is out away from the family, working.  Unfortunately, the book begins with her being possibly slightly drugged (the scene is unclear, as it is told from her point of view) and certainly raped.  Thankfully, this is told without much detail, but it surely retains the emotional impact, all throughout the rest of the book.

     Because Jade gets pregnant from this, she decides to return home to her family, and stays with Madison before the wedding.  Jade comes back into contact with Daniel, her childhood friend and honorary member of the McKinley family for years.   She hides her pregnancy so she does not have to tell the painful story or take attention away from Madison's upcoming wedding.

     Meanwhile, Daniel is running for a political position, and nursing his wounds over Jade leaving.  He had always loved her, and left her little notes, but she never figured out that they were for her or from him.  Daniel helps Jade keep her head up during the speculation of the town when they hear Jade is pregnant and see the amount of time the two spend together.

     Overall, this book captivated me and my emotions, and kept my hanging on.  It is a sweet story, but I think that it could be a little more put together in Jade's emotional health.  Once she grows to where she cannot hide her pregnancy, and eventually has to tell her family, she just brushes it off as a "what happened, happened".  I admire her choice to keep and love her child, but I would imagine that how she became pregnant would be a lot more emotionally and mentally hard than it was written to be.  In other words, "Dancing with Fireflies" could have been a lot more powerful, but overall, it was superb.

     Thank you so much to HarperCollins publishing and Net Galley for providing me with a copy to read and review.  All opinions are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

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February 5 2014 4 05 /02 /February /2014 02:05

Product Details

 


     "Bible Stories for His Beautiful Princess"

     "Bible Stories for His Beautiful Princess" is written by Sheri Rose Shepherd, illustrated by Shelley Dieterichs, and published by Tyndale House publishers.  This is a sweet devotional for girls in their toddler years through first or second grade.  The pictures are charming, and the writing breaks down thirty-seven popular Bible stories into a summary of the biblical account, a prayer, and a little gem of truth or "moral of the story", if you will, to sum it up.  These are about two to three pages each, so you do not have to try and hold your child's attention for awhile :).  I have read another book by this author before: a women's devotional with the same general "you are God's princess" message and found it refreshing, so I was excited to see this young girls' edition.  Overall, the layout is cute and friendly, the passages relevant, and the book sturdy, as it is hardback.  I think that this would make for a great Easter or Valentine's Day present for any young girl in your life!

     Thank you to Tyndale 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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January 29 2014 4 29 /01 /January /2014 20:33

 

"Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek"

     "Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek" is written by Jill Osborne and published by ZonderKidz.  It is the first in the Good News Shoes Series, and the sequel is "Riley Mae and the Ready Eddy Rapids".  Both of these books will be released on January 28th, 2014. 

       Riley Mae is in the seventh grade and her best friend's name is Taylor Joy.  When Riley is offered a contract to be a spokesgirl for Swiftriver Shoe Company, she jumps at the chance, and soon she is doing photo shoots all over the U.S.  Taylor Joy (also known as TJ) gets angry when Riley is not able to practice and play softball.  A new girl, Rusty, joins the softball team, which makes TJ even more mad, because they continue to lose games because Rusty lack of ability.  Meanwhile, Riley learns that she is going to be climbing the treacherous Half-Dome in Yosemite one day before a big softball tournament for a commercial.  So she laces up her "Rock Shocker" hiking boots for a climb up to the top.  Will they be the right boots for getting her feet back on solid ground?

      I liked this book because Riley always went to God when she was in distress and even when she wasn't.  However, it was unrealistic to gain a contract after only trying on a few pairs of shoes.  I think the author could have made it a little more gradual and still have the excitement.  Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. 

     Thank you to Book Sneeze and ZonderKidz for letting me read and review this book.  I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions are my own.

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January 22 2014 4 22 /01 /January /2014 02:56

   

"A Match Made in Texas"

     Like "A Bride for all Seasons ", four authors have gathered together and each written a novella.  These have been combined into this book, "A Match Made in Texas", and published by Bethany House publishers.  The novellas and authors who wrote them are in this order: "A Cowboy Unmatched" by Karen Witemeyer, "An Unforeseen Match" by Mary Connealy, "No Match for Love" by Regina Jennings, and "Meeting Her Match" by Carol Cox.  I mainly requested to review this book because I had read “Short-Straw Bride" and "Stealing the Preacher" by Karen Witemeyer, thoroughly enjoyed them, and gotten attached to the Archer brothers.  In "A Cowboy Unmatched", I was excited for Neill's story, even if I wished he could have had his own book.  Getting a novella by Mary Connealy was definitely a bonus, as I enjoy her humorous and western writing.  I had not yet read anything by Regina Jennings or Carol Cox, so this allowed me to get a sample of their stories while simultaneously enjoying the authors I like.  These short and sweet novellas were perfect for when I wanted to be swept away to Texas but did not have time for the plane ride :).  The authors work together well and the four stories make for ease in putting down and picking back up.

     Thank you to Bethany House publishers and Net Galley for providing me with an eBook copy of this book to read and review.  I was not required to post anything but my honest review in exchange for this book.

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