Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Review: Buttermilk Sky by Jan Watson

I have been reading a great many books lately by new to me authors and Buttermilk Sky is my first read from Jan Watson.  It was a lovely coming of age story about a young woman who is trying to find her own way in life.  Mazy (I really liked that name) has left her small mountain town of Skip Rock and is going to secretarial school in the city.  This story takes place during the year 1913.  When she left, she also left the sheriff, Chanis, who is a few years older than her and very much in love with her.  Though they are apart for most of the story, we get a really good characterization of both Mazy and Chanis as we are seeing life happen through both of their viewpoints.  I really liked both characters.  Mazy was sweet and innocent and really had to learn about the world through her own experiences before she could see the gifts she already had.  She had a couple of harrowing near misses and I enjoyed seeing her relate with her city friends.  Chanis was a really fun character to get to know.  He was a simple fellow who for the most part knew what he wanted in life.  He took care of his responsibilities and he loved Mazy with his whole heart.  Some of the situations he found himself in, because he was the sheriff, had me laughing out loud even though they were serious situations that could have taken his life.  Again, he was such a fun character and Jan Watson’s writing was a delight to read.  I received my review copy from The Book Club Network, Inc. (TBCN) and the opinions are my own.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Review: The Lady and the Officer by Mary Ellis

The Lady and the Officer by Mary Ellis was a sweeping Civil War story depicting one woman’s life and decisions during the last two years of that most brutal war.  Having been widowed due to the war, Madeline Howard has also lost her late husband’s business (he was a horse breeder), her home, and purpose in Pennsylvania.  Being a Yankee through and through, she still decided she needed to move to Richmond, Virginia to seek shelter with her wealthy Uncle, Aunt, and cousin.  However, before she leaves she has managed to capture the attention of a Union officer by the name of James Downing.  He implores her to stay on the North side during the war however she feels she still needs to go to family.  Since there is nothing James can do while the war is going on, he promises to write and vows to her and (himself) that he will find her after the war. 

Now what I found very fascinating was how Madeline, being from the north and very much wanting the Union to win, has learned how to live her daily life in the very capital of the Confederacy.  How she still loves her family and they her, yet they have very opposing views.  There is intrigue, spies, and a bit of a love triangle when a Confederate soldier steps into her life in Richmond making Madeline’s decisions more complicated.  This is my first Mary Ellis book and her romantic historical had me right there experiencing the South with Madeline.  This story was very unpredictable and I so very enjoyed the resolution of this book.  One particular scene was just amazing to me with how it played out.  Thank you to the The Book Club Network, Inc. (TBCN) for my review copy.  The opinions are my own. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Review: Tried and True by Mary Connealy

Mary Connealy is one of my go to authors that I know I will get a great story.  Tried and True I do believe is my new favorite of hers.  Taking place some months after the Civil War, we have three sisters and their Pa taking advantage of the homesteading laws out west, the location of their homesteads being in the Idaho territory.  The interesting part is that all three sisters had disguised themselves as men and fought in the war due to their father’s goading them in honor of their late brother.  Bailey and Shannon, the two oldest, have taken their roles as men and embraced them.  Kylie, the youngest however, wants to be a woman and has let her hair grow and wears skirts.  She wants to be taken care of and wants to forget the horrors of the war she fought in.  In steps Aaron Masterson, who also fought as a Union soldier, who is now working as a land agent for the US government.   Wanting to make sure everything is legal, he finds out that Kylie is not who she says she is and there ensues a legal problem.  That is only the icing on the cake as we meet other folks of the territory, those who want Kylie’s land and will stoop pretty low to scare her off and those who want her watering rights.  Told with her trademark style infused with humor, Aaron and Kylie seem to fall into one mess after another as they are falling in love.  And just when everything seems to be looking up for our characters, we get some unexpected twists and turns.   Like I said earlier, I do believe this is my favorite Mary Connealy book to date.  I look forward to the next two books in the Wilde sisters’ trilogy, especially after reading the excerpt for book two.  I received my review copy from The Book Club Network, Inc. (TBCN) and the opinions are my own.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Review: Proper Attire by Danielle Thorn

Proper Attire was a cute and fun swashbuckling adventurous read about a maiden in distress, pirates, natives, captains, and a mystery guy taking place in a beautiful West Indie setting.  This regency novel finds our heroine on a ship headed towards her admiral Uncle’s home.  She is being sent away as she will not marry whom her stepmother has chosen for her.  On her way, the ship is attacked by pirates and she meets John Smith, our very enigmatic hero.  From then on there were twists and turns throughout this story and I read it rather quickly.  So if you are looking for a clean, adventurous short novel with a thread of romance, I think you may enjoy Danielle Thorn’s story.  I myself look forward to more of her tales.   I received an e-copy for review and the opinions are my own.  

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Review: A Christmas Gift by Kathy Macias

By the looks of the cover on A Christmas Gift, I thought that I was going to get a sweet, heartwarming, fuzzy feeling read.  Well, I really should not have judged this book by its cover.  This was a first read for me by Kathy Macias.  While reading this book I felt a lot of emotions: heartbreak, familial love, excitement for new adventure, and fear.  Fear?  Yes, fear.  I was not sure if this book was going to have a happy ending or not, but Kathy Macias’s writing did not disappoint.  I was constantly turning the pages to get to a resolution of this poor heroine.  From the moment I started the book and read the prologue I knew I was in for a roller coaster of a ride.  Not a typical Christmas story but a well told story nonetheless.  I received my review copy from The Book Club Network, Inc. (TBCN) and as always the opinions are my own.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Review: Honor by Lyn Cote

Honor by Lyn Cote is an extraordinary tale of one Quaker woman’s faith and endurance during the time period of 1819-1820.  Standing up and having faith in her late father’s abolitionist beliefs, she goes against her grandfather’s stubborn will and pro-slavery beliefs.  Raised on the High Oaks plantation, Honor was set to inherit her family’s legacy however, she was betrayed by her grandfather after he passed on.  Now left with only $100 and her maid Royale (a former slave she set free), these two women must leave the only home they have ever known and embark on a new way of life.  Due to some unforeseen circumstances, Honor finds herself in a marriage of convenience, quite literally, to a man who is deaf and his three year old nephew who needs a mother.  As they head west to Ohio to start their new lives, they come against prejudice, peril, and man’s inhumanity to man.  Facing all kinds of trials and circumstances, Honor and her little family must learn to trust, depend on, and love each other.  However when secrets come to light and are revealed, Honor will need to learn to forgive.

I was very caught up in this very riveting yet heartbreaking tale.  The cover is beautiful and just looking at Honor peering back at me I knew she had an intriguing story to tell.  The history of Ohio and its stand on slavery and its role that it played in the Underground Railroad was also very interesting to read about.  This was my first Lyn Cote book and I look forward to reading her previous books and the second in the Quaker Bride Series, Blessing.  I received this book from The Book Club Network, (TBCN) however, my opinions are my own and I highly recommend this book.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Review: Silver Bells by Lucinda Brant, Sarah M. Eden, Heather B. Moore, Lu Ann Brobst Staheli, Annette Lyon, and Becca Wilhite

Silver Bells is a historical Christmas collection by six different authors.  They are clean, quick little stories that all have a Christmas theme within them.   I enjoyed reading stories from familiar authors and I liked that I was able to sample some authors that I had not read before.   I tend to savor a tale from Sarah Eden and am always on the lookout for her new releases.  I have read Heather B. Moore and Annette Lyon in the first Christmas anthology volume and I was looking forward to Lucinda Brant’s story as I have a few of her other books.  I enjoyed all the stories, and especially was interested in learning about Macy’s department store in the early 1920’s.  We even get to meet a friend of a young Ebenezer Scrooge.    All in all these were standalone novelettes that were entertaining to read and to put you in the Christmas spirit.  I look forward to more of the Romance Anthology Collections.  I was given an ebook for review, however the opinions are mine.

Review: Emma Learns To Sprout by Shir Guez

Emma Learns to Sprout is a cute book for kids that can help them in the understanding of sprouting lentils.  I think this would be a cute book in using with kids for a science experiment.  I think it might be fun for them to watch their lentils grow, and then eat them.  I also like that this book promotes healthy eating habits in a fun way.  I read this to my little guy who is four however, I think kids even older would enjoy sprouting their own food.   

Review: The Last Queen of Sheba by Jill Francis Hudson

The Last Queen of Sheba was a mesmerizing book for me.  While reading this and for a whole week, I was dreaming this book.  In my dreams I was in the halls and court of the great wise king Solomon.  I don’t normally read a lot of Biblical fiction however this book intrigued me due to its subject matter.  I always found the account of The Queen of Sheba and Solomon, found in both I Kings 10:1-3 and 2 Chronicles 9:1-12, as interesting.  Jesus also mentions her in the New Testament in Mathew 12:42 and also Luke 11:31.  Who was this queen, where exactly did she come from, and what was her background story?   Ms. Hudson gives us a plausible story and sites her historical information and sources at the end of the book.  In my homeschooling journey with my children, I had come across the Ethiopian Jews and their journey to Israel to escape communism, and their belief that they were descended from Menelik, whom some believe is the son of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.   I have also read accounts that some Ethiopian Christians believe that the Ark of the Covenant is located and closely guarded in Ethiopia.  Ms. Hudson does mention this in her historical research and also a great deal more. 
Something else I have always wondered about: why did the wisest man in the world choose to live the latter part of his life in the way that he did?  How in the world could you have so many wives and concubines and let them set up alters to their gods, especially, when he started his reign on the right path and the teachings that he was brought up with?  What made this wisest of men fall?

Told through the eyes of the Queen of Sheba’s uncle Tamrin, we are told the background of the Queen, we travel to Israel and back over a 20 plus year period, watch the glorious dedication of the Temple, and finally the deterioration of Israel right before the Nation of Israel split, with 10 tribes separating themselves from King David’s heirs.   I could go on about this book but this review is long enough.  This was a riveting read for me and I thank The Book Club Network, (TBCN) for my review copy.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Review: Forever With You by Robin Jones Gunn

First off, I have not read any of the previous series that were about Christy and Todd.  However, that did not hinder my reading enjoyment of Forever With You by Robin Jones Gunn.  I did not feel lost within the story nor was there a lot of back story.  Ms. Gunn seamlessly wrote her story so that even if you had not read any of the previous series, you would certainly find enjoyment in this new series about Christy and Todd in their married years.

This book brought back a lot of memories for me of being just married for only a couple of years, no kids yet, living in an apartment, and trying to make things work financially.  I really felt for Christy and Todd and all the struggles they were facing and that seemed to hit them all at once.  I felt the emotions Christy was experiencing and wanting to tell her to hang in there, it will get better.  It was interesting to read how this young couple really had to just let everything go to find the freedom to move on to the next step in their lives.  If you have been a Christy and Todd fan through the years, or if this is your first Robin Jones Gunn book, either way it will be an enjoyable read.  I received my review copy from The Book Club Network, Inc. (TBCN) and the opinions are my own.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Review: With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden

It has been too long since I have read a book by Elizabeth Camden.  With Every Breath was such a delightful read and one of my top ten favorites for this year.  If I could give it more than 5 stars I would.  This story was the type of story I could not put down and I read it within two days.  I have not had a book capture my attention like that in a while.  One, in which, it so captures my imagination it makes it hard to join the real world again.  I enjoyed both the hero and heroine.  They both have faced some pretty sad circumstances throughout their lives.  Both Trevor and Kate are likable, and due to their life circumstances and experiences they are very mature in their decision making.  Their love story was slow and simmering, and their wit and banter was enjoyable to watch.  I also liked that even though they did love each other, they both understood that it might be best if they just remained friends.  As I was joyfully reading along, Ms. Camden dropped in a twist that literally took my breath away.  Not only is the romance nice, but the history of tuberculosis was very interesting as well.  This is a must read book and I look forward to reading all of Elizabeth Camden’s books.  I received this book from the The Book Club Network, Inc. (TBCN) and the opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Review: Saving Grace by Michele Paige Holmes

Saving Grace is a regency Beauty and the Beast type story.  We have Grace Thatcher, who while attempting to protect her siblings from their unscrupulous father, is being introduced to questionable men to enrich her father’s pockets. By trying to thwart her father and the men he has chosen for her to wed, she comes up with some pretty hair brained schemes.   Grace wants her freedom so that she may choose her own spouse or not marry at all and live quietly in the country.  This is not an instant love story.  The characters we meet don’t even like each other at first and are thrown together not by their own choosing but by circumstance.  There are also two love interests for Grace to choose from.  Along with Grace, we find that both are worthy gentlemen, but whom will she choose?   With one bent on revenge and the other hiding a secret, Grace becomes an unwilling pawn between Nicholas Sutherland and Samuel Preston.  This is a clean read and I really enjoyed watching the character growth.  I look forward to more of this author’s work.   I received an e-copy for review however the opinions are my own.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Review: Final Trimester by Dianna T. Benson

Final Trimester by Dianna T. Benson was a chilling, edge of your seat thriller.  I will note that I was disturbed by the subject matter: a serial killer killing pregnant women, that being said, the author’s writing was riveting and kept me turning the pages.  As I was reading, I was literally jolted by some of the events that transpired in this suspense filled novel.   There were shocking twists and turns that occurred throughout the book and I did not guess who the killer was until the moment he was revealed.   This story is about Jodi, who is a paramedic, and Nate, a cop, who want to stop a serial killer from killing again.  Their hearts are at risk with each other and their lives are at risk when the killer fixates on them.  This is the first of a trilogy, and the author sets up the next books nicely.  You may not want to read this one before bed.  It really is creepy enough that it may keep you awake.  I received this book from The Book Club Network, Inc. (TBCN), however the opinions are my own.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Review: Louie's BIG day! by Maria I Morgan

Louie’s Big Day is a cute children’s book about a lawnmower that discovers what he was made for and what his purpose in life is.  It also shows the importance of friendship and that doing new things may seem frightening at first but that is just part of growing up.  I read this to my 4 year old, and he really enjoyed the story and the pictures.  The illustrations are cute and simple.  We both look forward to the next in the series.  I received this book from The Book Club Network, Inc. (TBCN) however, the opinions are our own.

Review: Surprised by Love by Julie Lessman

Julie Lessman is one of my favorite authors.  When I pick up one of her books, I know that my heart will be wrung out and stepped on in agony and sympathy with her characters.  This is a story with not one, but two love stories and I enjoyed and hoped for a happy ever ending for both of them.    Our first couple is Meg and Bram (Abraham).  Meg has been away in France for a year and comes back not as the chubby, insecure girl she was, but a woman with confidence in herself and the freedom to make her own decisions.  Bram, who has been like a big brother to her since she was seven, realizes his feelings may have changed for Meg now that she is back home again.   Let’s not forget Devin, the boy who bullied Megan for years who sees her in a different light now and of Amelia the one whom Bram’s parents’ hope for a joining of their two families.   

 My favorite love story was that of Andrew, Logan and Cait, Meg’s widowed mother, which seems to have been going on throughout the series.  I was on pins and needles for their love triangle to reach a satisfying conclusion.  All of her heroes seem worthy to root for at first, but don’t be fooled there are still a few hidden scoundrels and rakes that need to be redeemed.  I hope she writes about those next.   Anyway, I think I may have cheated myself a bit by reading this third book in the series before the first two.  I missed seeing the growth of the family dynamics and relationships and, of course, the first two couples’ love stories.   However, that being said, I enjoyed this newest release by Julie and I enjoy how passionate her characters are about those they love and their God.   I received this book from Revell, and the opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Review: At Bluebonnet Lake by Amanda Cabot

Amanda Cabot’s latest offering, At Bluebonnet Lake, is a refreshing tale of slowing down, letting go of the fear of change, and grabbing on to all that life has to offer.  We have two very busy people who have come to the failing resort, Rainbow’s End.  Kate Sherwood is there to spend more quality time with her grandmother, who in turn is trying to convince her granddaughter there is more to life than her career.  Greg Vange, who has decided to leave his very busy world, is searching for his next step in life.  These two run into each other at a crossroads in their lives.  Not only do we get to watch their love story unfold, but we get to witness the love story of another couple in a very different season of their lives.  I do not know if Rainbow’s End exists, but if it does, I would love to visit and I so want a pair of those cowboy boots.  I have always enjoyed Amanda Cabot’s historical fiction, and I have very much enjoyed this contemporary tale of hers as well.  There is a beautiful theme of letting go of our dreams and the demands we place on ourselves and embracing the great adventure that can be our lives.   I look forward to the next visitors to Rainbow’s End and their stories.  Thank you to the publisher Revell for my review copy.  The opinions, however, are my own.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Review: The Cinderella Theorem by Kristee Ravan

Hilarious!  I loved this book!  I knew just by reading the synopsis that I had to read it.  I was a little nervous about reading about a math lover (personally I hate math), but not only did Kristee Ravan help me understand math (there wasn’t an equation that I didn’t understand) but she also made it so that I actually enjoyed the math in this book (and that’s saying a lot because, me liking math is not even mathematically possible).  I loved all the characters (except for Levi, but that goes without being said). I totally, related to Lilly.  Could you ask for a more lovable heroine?  Plus I liked her distracted, author mother, because I (being an aspiring author myself) can relate to that, too. I even liked grumpy Calo and Lilly's kingly, non-dead father.   You can definitely say that this book is original.   I’ve read a lot of Cinderella stories (I’m even considering writing one) and I have to say that I don’t think I have ever read a Cinderella story quite like this.  I didn’t think in a million billion years anybody would have come up with a story even remotely like this, so great job, Kristee Ravan!
The Cinderella Theorem= a great book
Thank you to the author for my review copy.  The opinions, however, are my own.

Reviewed by Nicole


Review: Miracle in a Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Miracle in a Dry Season was much more than a book to sit down for reading pleasure.  It was a book that really had its teachable moments but not in a preachy way.  It had those moments within the story and being the story.  With a vibe of the Scarlet Letter, a bit of the story about the adulterous woman whom Jesus said those without sin could cast the first stone, and a touch of the miracle of the five loaves and fishes, than you have a recipe for a stand out book.   This book takes place in Wise, West Virginia, 1954, where the folks there dish out plenty of gossip and are skimpy with the forgiveness.  It showed how sin is sin and all of it is harmful.   How gossip and slander can be just as hurtful to a person as adultery.  How being judgmental and unforgiving can blind you to your own faults and you begin to believe you are better than someone else, even to the point of hatred.  Perla, an unwed mother, has come to stay with her aunt and uncle to escape the talk of her parent’s town only to run into the same type of people.  However, when a severe drought hits and the only hope the town has is coming from the one person whom they have rejected and slandered, will they be able to put down their prejudices and superstitions to get the help they need or will they choose to starve?  With poignant storytelling and eye opening truths, this is a book that I won’t soon forget.  I received my copy from The Book Club Network, Inc. (TBCN) and the opinions are my own.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review: A Promise to Protect by Patricia Bradley

A Promise to Protect by Patricia Bradley was a rollercoaster ride that started from page one.  With secrets to protect and a town seemingly falling apart, Sheriff Ben Logan and Dr. Leigh Somerall have a lot going on in their lives.  Leigh and her family’s lives are being threatened and the last person she wants to turn to is Ben, but she is not sure who else to trust. She is especially leery when there was no closure for either of them from their romance 9 years past.  Ben, as acting sheriff since his father was shot, is trying to protect Leigh and prove to himself and others that he can do this job.  This was a tight, gripping novel that had the past colliding with the present and that affected the day to day challenges of both our hero and heroine.  The author managed to keep this reader quickly turning the pages at the twists, turns, and surprises that popped up throughout the story.  I was guessing who the bad guy was till the very end.  This was my first Patricia Bradley read and I look forward to more of her storytelling.  I received my copy from Revell, however the opinions expressed are my own. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Review: A Carol for Kent by Hallee Bridgeman


A Carol for Kent was a very engaging story.  With a little bit of everything from romance, family drama, fame and fortune, to murder and mystery, it was very hard for me to put down.  I was actually feeling some of the very emotions the characters were feeling, especially with the anger and sense of betrayal within the family unit.  While that is taking a toll on our hero and heroine, Carol and Kent, in the background is the ever approaching danger of an unknown serial killer.  I did not know who the killer was until the very end.  I liked how the author included journal entries the killer wrote so we saw a bit of their very disturbed mind.  I had several suspects picked out who could have been doing the very horrendous murders.  This was a very suspenseful read and my first and certainly not my last by Hallee Bridgeman.  Also in the book she shares some recipes and news on her other books.  Her cookbooks look like they would be valuable sources and hilarious with their tongue in cheek titles.  I received this book from The Book Club Network, Inc. (TBCN) and the opinions are my own.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Review: Making Marion by Beth Moran

At first glance of this whimsical cover, Making Marion looked like it would be a lighthearted romantic comedy.  Well, I though it did, anyway.  What I got between the covers of this book was a poignant story of a woman searching for answers and wanting and needing to be loved and finding her own worth.  This is a good read, just not really a lighthearted one.  There are moments of laughter, but there are more difficult subjects as well.  Death, cancer, abuse (emotional and physical), are some of these subjects.  Marion is a woman searching to find answers about her beloved father.  What she finds is so much more.  This is a book about learning how to forgive, friendship, love, and ultimately finding out you are worthy.  I very much enjoyed Marion growing in her character and even the physical changes that took place as she stepped up to be the woman she was meant to be.  I would consider this an inspirational read, however there is a little bit of language.  I would say around 5 words or less.  I very much enjoyed this story and read it very quickly.  I received this book from The Book Club Network, Inc. (TBCN) and the opinions are my own.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Review: The Westward Brides Christmas Collection by Wanda E Bruntsetter, Susan Page Davis, Melanie Dobson, Cathy Liggett, Vickie McDonough, Olivia Newport, Janet Spaeth, Jennifer Rogers Spinola, and MaryLu Tyndall


I really just sometimes like to sit back and enjoy a shorter story.  In The Westward Christmas Brides Collection we have a wonderful collection of stories by 9 different authors.  I wanted to read this book most of all as one of my favorite authors, MaryLu Tyndall, had a short story in this collection.  However, every story was delightful and I found more authors to put on my wish list.  Each story is only about 40-50 pages long, but they are all so well told that it did not seem like I was reading a short story.  The book itself is lovely and nicely laid out.  With beveled pages and a beautiful winter scene on the inside of both flaps, it would make a very thoughtful Christmas gift to a reader in your life.    I really enjoyed all these prairie romances and look forward to reading more in these collections.  I received the book from The Book Club Network, Inc. (TBCN) and the opinions are my own.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Review: Thunder by Bonnie S. Calhoun

          Tremors                               Thunder

Thunder by Bonnie S. Calhoun is a dystopian young adult novel that takes place 150 years into the future.  Throw in a bit of Hunger Games, a pinch of Divergent and a little bit of X-Men (?) and you have a truly original story.  We are introduced to Selah right before her 18th birth remembrance.  With her life about to change and expectations placed on her that she does not agree with, she is trying to prove to her family that she is worthy.  What happens at the beach, (where she was not supposed to be at, on a day she should have been home), will change her life in ways that she could not have foreseen.  This was a very imaginative tale with many parts that worked well together.  I liked the slow romance, the familial relationships, and enjoyed watching true friendships develop, against the backdrop of life and death situations and a lot of action.  Along with Selah, I was quickly turning the pages to find out the answers to all the questions that she had and to find out the truth about the secrets that were kept from her.  I look very much forward to the sequel, Lightning, because even though this book ends satisfactorily, I am interested in exploring more of this strange new earth.  I am very pleased that the inspirational market is putting out more young adult novels that lack the junk yet tell a good story with hope.  On a side note for parents, there is a bit of violence in this book just in case your teens are sensitive to that.  There is a prequel novella called Tremors that is available at this time for free.  I received this book from Revell, however the opinions are my own.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Review: Annie's Stories by Cindy Thomson

Annie’s Stories by Cindy Thomson is a story about Annie, an Irish Immigrant, and also a story about those she lives with and deals with on an everyday occurrence.  At first glance, the cover of this story makes you think you are in for a very whimsical tale.  But just like the book that Annie is reading, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, this book has its dark and sinister parts and Annie needs to find the courage and heart to see her circumstances through.  This book is full of secrets of all kinds, deals with some dark subject matter, and really opens up to what life might have been like for Immigrants such as Annie and her friends trying to start anew in America.  I saw the early Post Office in a new light and sometimes wanted to shake Annie’s love interest due to his naivety and poor decisions.  I always enjoy a book that can teach me something new about history that I did not know before and it was very neat to read about folks who enjoyed reading as much as I do.  It was also interesting to see the sensation that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz had on the public during its time.  I received this book from The Book Club Network, Inc.  (TBCN) and the opinions are my own.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Review: The Seven Step Guide to Authorpreneurship by Rochelle Carter


The Seven Step Guide to Authorpreneurship by Rochelle Carter focuses on how to make a successful business and living on your writing, unlike other helpful, related books that focus on the writing and editing.  With very straightforward advice and helpful resources, Ms. Carter lays out a doable seven step plan from writing your story to executing a business plan.  Including advice for both mainstream publishing and independent publishing, it is helpful for all fields.  This book is very exhaustive yet also very concise and readable at just 213 pages. It is valuable as a reference source, and I recommend it to all who are interested in the business side of being an author.  I received this book from The Book Club Network, Inc. (TBCN) and the opinions are my own.  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Review: Someone Like You by Karen Rock


Someone Like You by Karen Rock was a sweet romance about two former best friends who reconnect after life has crushed them a bit.  Niall, a former soldier, is home now after a devastating mission and that has left him altered both physically and emotionally.  Kayleigh has just broken things off with her fiancé and has quit her high end job as a software developer.  Not wanting to be hurt again and also wanting to set out on her own she comes up with an idea for an app to help others find their compatible mates.  Kayleigh needs Niall’s skill as a programmer to pull this off.   With a little bit of a Beauty and the Beast vibe running through the story and the help of Kayleigh’s grandfather and his senior citizen friends, Kayleigh wants to help Niall come out of his shell and become the friend she knew him to be when they were kids.  However, the path to true love is not as easy as the app makes it sound plus they are facing many obstacles and dark secrets. Can Niall and Kayleigh pull off their business and love?  I liked the input of the senior citizens at the assisted living home where Kayleigh’s grandfather lived and their view of life.  I enjoyed this tale and look forward to more by the author Karen Rock.  This is a clean read and has no language.  I received this book from the author however the opinions are my own.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Review: Love's Fortune by Laura Frantz


Love’s Fortune by Laura Frantz is the continuing family saga of the Ballantynes.  This is the story of Silas and Eden’s (Love’s Reckoning) grandchildren. Wren (Rowena) their granddaughter is uprooted from her simple Kentucky home when her father receives news that his mother and father are in need of him, especially due to his father’s health.  Wren is then thrust into Pittsburgh society and much is expected of her as a Ballantyne heir.  There she is reconnected with her cousins, aunts, uncles, and most of all, her beloved grandparents.  She also meets two good men, James Sackett and Malachi Cameron.  When all is said and done, will Wren choose duty or love?  With her signature storytelling, Laura Frantz brings her story alive with family secrets, beloved characters, heartrending romance, and wonderful historical detail.  I enjoyed getting to continue to read about the family that came about due to Silas and Eden’s love story.  It was very interesting to read about how the next generations turned out, given the family’s humble beginnings and who their grandparents were.  I have read all of Ms. Frantz’s books and even though the journeys her characters take can wring our hearts, her books always end properly.  I received this book from the publisher, Revell, however the opinions are my own. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Review: The Impressionist by Tim Clinton and Max Davis

The Impressionist is a fictional novel about a man who has hit rock bottom in his marriage and with raising his son.  He leaves his home angry only to come across an older gentleman who wants to paint his portrait.  During the time he spends with the painter, he learns some valuable truths about decisions we make and what is truly worth fighting for.  During this encounter he realizes that he is truly in a battle and needs to rise up to be the warrior that his family so desperately needs and to not give up and take the easy road like so many do.  Using the examples of David and Joseph from the Bible, we all have our defining moments that shape us into the masterpieces we are meant to be.  This little novel was chock full of nuggets of wisdom that I took away from.  It also included many scripture references which were very encouraging to remember and use in the battles that we face. I was encouraged and a little curious as to what my portrait would look like if it were to be painted by this impressionist.  I received this book from The Book Club Network, Inc. (TBCN) and the opinions are my own.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Review: Just 18 Summers by Rene Gutteridge and Michelle Cox


I was very hesitant to begin reading Just 18 Summers, as I was not really wanting to get very emotional.  However, this book surprised me in many ways.  Is it poignant?  Yes.  Did it make me cry?  Yes, but not in the way you may think.  I was actually crying because I was laughing so very hard.  I enjoyed how the authors took these four families and helped us get inside the parents’ heads and see what was going on and to do it in a way that so mirrors life.  I laughed, cried, and cringed with them.  And yes, I cried a bit due to the poignancy and the lessons that were either reiterated to me or those that I learned.  Reading this book was like watching a sitcom with substance.  I even had to read many parts out loud to my daughter and husband.  This is going on the list of my top 10 books that I have read this year and I cannot think of another book that had me laughing in hysterics like this one did.  I recommend this book to all parents.  It was a very satisfying read.  I received this book from The Book Club Network, Inc. (TBCN) and the opinions are my own.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Review: A Match of Wits by Jen Turano


A Match of Wits by Jen Turano was an interesting blend of comedic action, bumbling romance, and a touch of danger.  Agatha Watson, a reporter, has had numerous threats and attempts on her life, but this does not slow her down in wanting to report the truth about the downtrodden or helping her dearest friend and secret love Zayne Beckett.  Zayne, angry his well made plans had been thwarted by his ex -fiancée, and with an accident that broke his leg leaving him with a painful limp, did not expect to run into his very dear friend Agatha after two years.  What follows is a delightful romp, of two people who are perfect for one another yet do not see it do to their conniving plans to rescue each other from themselves.  Meeting characters from the previous books, along with Agatha’s bodyguard, Mr. Blackheart, and her lady’s companion, Druscilla (who has secrets of her own), throw in an adorable pet pig, and you have the makings of a delightful story.  This was my first read by Jen Turano and I look forward to reading and laughing out loud to more of her stories.  I received this book from The Book Club Network, Inc. (TBCN) and the opinions are my own.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Review: The Time I Saved the World by Jes Drew

This is the third book in my daughter's Ninja and Hunter series, and it goes out with a bang.  Out of all of the books this one is my favorite and brings the series to a close nicely.  Coming in at a whopping 434 pages, I read this in just two days.  The following is my review, I will keep it as spoiler free as possible.

The Time I Saved the World pretty much picks up about 6 months from where the second book leaves off.  Now that Charisa’s powers are known to her parents, she has begun working with her father and Villain Hunter to become stronger and smarter when using her powers.  However, someone has noticed Charisa from the beginning, and has been actively keeping watch on her.  After some suspicious robberies, secrets best hidden come out and a criminal unlike any Charisa has gone up against before, puts the whole world in danger.
With writing that makes you feel for the characters, wondering who can be trusted and who can’t, a touch of romance, and a teen girl just trying to do her best and see where she fits in this world, I could not put this book down till the very exciting conclusion. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Review: Sara and Andy by Ronald Glanz

Sara and Andy was a sweet love story of love at first sight, in a funeral home to beat all.  Sara, a minister’s daughter, and Andy, who took care of his invalid mother, had so far had very lonely existences in their adult life.  Both losing their remaining parents, they meet at a funeral home and start up a love story.  This was an interesting read being both lighthearted and funny, but also a tale of tragedy and dark secrets.  It was also a rags to riches story that was interesting to see unfold.  With quirky characters and interesting story telling, I was quickly turning pages to figure out the mystery of this book.  This I believe is considered an inspirational read, however, there is a tiny bit of language.  I received this book from The Book Club Network Inc. (TBCN), and the opinions are my own.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Review: Safe Haven by Anna Schmidt


Safe Haven takes place near the end of World War 2 and tells the story of refugees whom President Roosevelt had invited to come to the United States.  There were not quite 1000 of them, but they came to a town called Oswego in New York.  Under the terms that President Roosevelt had set up, they were allowed to live in the USA until the war was over, then they had to return to their own country or to another country that would accept them.  They were allowed some freedoms with passes they had to obtain and they lived in a fenced-in fort.  To too many of the refugees, it brought back horrible memories of concentration camps, but the Americans in charge of the fort really wanted to make them feel at home and safe.  However, how safe and at home can you really feel when after the war was over, you did not know where you would go or if you even had a home to go to?  Suzanne Randolph, a journalist with a past, has been assigned to write the stories of the refugees.   There she meets Theo Bridgewater, a farmer and Quaker, whose uncle, aunt, and cousin are among the refugees.  He is there for support and to try to convince those in charge that they have a home in Wisconsin with their extended family.  Over a period of time, both Suzanne and Theo realize how important it is that the USA let these families have a chance to stay.  Working at a common goal, Theo and Suzanne start to fall in love with each other.  However, Suzanne sees another side of the story that she would like to pursue and write about as well, that does not make Theo happy.  This was a very interesting story about a piece of history that I had not heard about before.  Just what happened to those refugees that were invited to the United States and their place in history?  You will need to read the book for yourself and find out.  It was very interesting to learn and read about considering what is happening at our borders now.  I received this book from the The Book Club Network (TBCN) and the opinions are my own.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Review: Hallowed Halls by Hannah Alexander


Hallowed Halls by the husband/wife team, Hannah Alexander, is a very interesting book that looks into relationships.  Not only that, but it has a very intriguing medical mystery as well.  I was drawn into this story and all the dynamics that it involved.  The main character Dr. Joy Gilbert is still broken hearted from her break up with her fiancé Zack, who is a fellow doctor.  With problems at home with her mom, Molly, Joy takes a job in the city much farther away than the country home she is used too.  It has been 9 months, and things are still not working out for Joy.  Being pursued by her divorced employer and her overloaded work schedule, Joy needs to go home and face her Mother’s mounting debt and health problems and Zack.  Not only that, but she has a stowaway, Tressa, who is the very wealthy and powerful divorced employer’s daughter.  Tressa is dealing with some issues of her own, from both her parents.  Not only that, but there is something more sinister and dangerous happening to Tressa. This story is full of secrets that each individual is keeping and needs to come to light.  I really liked how the author showed that the decisions and mistakes people make, not only affect the person making them, but everyone as a whole.  I also enjoyed how all the characters related and responded to each other, especially Joy and Molly’s relationship.  There is definitely some healing and forgiveness that needs to take place for all the characters. This is my first read by Hannah Alexander and with the solid storytelling found in this book it will not be my last.  I received this book from The Book Club Network, (TBCN) and the opinions are my own.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Review: A Woman of Fortune by Kellie Coates Gilbert


A Woman of Fortune by Kelly Coates Gilbert is a story about some serious family issues.  Even though this deals with a very rich family, the book held some truths most of us could take away from.  At first I didn’t know how I felt about Claire Massey.  She seemed like the typical married woman of fortune and I didn’t really like how after 30 years of marriage she could have been so clueless about her husband’s business dealings and her 3 adult children.  However, as the story progresses and she is popped out of her protective bubble, she takes a real hard look at her life.  I began to feel for her and the fact that her entire way of life was being ripped from her.  Her husband is taken away from her and two of her children are angry and withdraw.  However, one child does step up, the one that always seemed to be the black sheep.  Through it all though, she realizes just what is important and what love really means.  I really liked this book even though it was like watching a train wreck.  This does not have your happily ever after ending, but it does have the right ending.  I really liked how the author made marriage very important.  I already have the second book in this series on my wish list.  I received this book from the The Book Club Network, Inc. (TBCN) and the opinions are my own.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Review: Firewall by Diann Mills

Firewall by Diann Mills was an addictive, fast paced read.  I have read her historical fiction before, but this was the first suspense of hers I have read and I was not disappointed.  Can you imagine just getting married to the man you love, starting out on your honeymoon, and boom a terrorist attack takes place at the airport where you are departing from?  Not only that, but waking up in the hospital and realizing your husband is missing and the FBI are questioning who he really is and now you are a suspect?  You were supposed to be on your way to your honeymoon!  Well this is what happens to brilliant software developer Taryn Young.  Mills creates such an intricate web of deceit and sabotage that, Taryn, nor the reader, knows who to trust.  I really felt for Taryn and was quickly turning the pages to see how all this was going to turn out.  The book took some interesting turns that I did not see coming and I really look forward to the next novel in this series.  This book was better than most series on TV and I could tell that the author did her research.   I highly recommend it.  I received this book from The Book Club Network (TBCN) and the opinions are my own.                       

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Review: Sky Zone by Creston Mapes


Sky Zone by Creston Mapes is the third book in his Crittendon Files series.  Wow.  This story picks up about 8 months after the events of Poison Town.  Jack is working part time now as an usher for an events company after losing his job.  He and Pam are expecting their third child and they still have Pam’s mom, Margaret, who is dealing with dementia living with them.  They are also having a lot of financial problems due to the loss of Jack’s full time job and Pam has had to go back to work for insurance after being a stay at home mom.  All of this is really putting a strain on their marriage.  We are introduced to Jack’s coworkers, especially Brian Shakespeare who is described as a survivalist.  This book for the most part takes place in less than 24 hours.  We do go back in some chapters to see how our main characters get to the places they end up being when a terrorist attack is about to go down.  I don’t want to say too much more, but this book is over 400 pages and I read it in less 2 days.  That is how intense and fast and hard for me to put this book down was.  One of the things that I really like about Creston Mapes’ stories, is that even though we are introduced to a group of characters and a lot is going on in all of their lives, I have never felt lost in his stories.  He keeps the readers up on all of them and what is happening.  I received this book from The Book Club Network, Inc. (TBCN) and the opinions are my own.

Review: Poison Town by Creston Mapes

Poison Town played out like an action packed thriller movie in my head.   This is the first book I have read by Creston Mapes and it did not disappoint.  I liked getting to know Jack Crittendon and his family and friends.    Jack is really struggling with forgiveness and fear since the ordeal when his wife was kidnapped.  This is causing problems in his and Pam’s marriage.   While that and more are going on in his personal life, he is having car trouble and goes to his mechanics.  While there he learns that Galen, the father, has been really sick.  While Galen was at the hospital someone had tried to poison him.  This sets off a chain of events where Jack, who is an investigative reporter by profession, is trying to help his friends search for answers about their town being poisoned from a nearby factory.  Jack and Derrick, his reporter friend/partner, begin to uncover some very shady dealings and a lot of corporate greed with people who really want this story silenced, that they will stoop to do anything to keep this quiet, including murder.    There is a lot of stuff going on in this story and the last 80 pages or so had me on the edge of my seat.   There are also quite a few characters, yet the author made them all stand out and we even got to know the minor ones well.  This story takes place in my home state of Ohio which made the story even creepier for me.  This is a second in the series and even though it is can be read as a standalone, the first book does deal with Pam’s kidnapping.  I have not read the first one, but I do plan on going back and reading it.  At the end of the book we get a sneak peak at the third Crittendon File.  I am looking forward to reading that one as well.  I received this book from The Book Club Network and the opinions are my own.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Review: Tender Trust by Tanya Stowe

Tender Trust by Tanya Stowe is the second book by this author that I have read and I have really been enjoying her stories.  This one takes place in California in 1867.  Penny Marsden is running a saloon to try to support her daughter and give her ragtag makeshift family a home and a better chance of life.  Her husband, Alex Marsden went off to fight in the Civil War and she has had no word of him for five years.  Then one evening in he walks into her saloon and like a rocket the story really takes off from that point on.  Alex has changed through his experiences and injuries.  He has become a better man for it and he has been searching for his wife and child for the past few years.  He is ready to pick up where he and his wife have left off, however, Penny does not believe in happily ever after anymore.  Living in fear that something will take her husband away from her again, she distances herself from him and continues to try to live without him.  I do admit that sometimes I wanted to shake her, but with Alex we slowly find out what she is truly afraid of.  This was a sweet romance of a man trying to show his wife how much he cares and truly loves her, their daughter, and the friends she has picked up along the way.  The secondary characters and their stories were also done well.  We have Jewel who is running from a very bad man, Inga and Jann, her teenage son, who are immigrants, Tom a gifted piano player who has turned to the bottle, even the saloon owner next door.   As Alex tries to reconnect with his wife and daughter, he also sees the hurting of these others and attempts to help them all to a better life.  I very much look forward to more stories from Tanya Stowe.  I received this book from The Book Club Network (TBCN) and the opinions are my own.