Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday - 2016 Releases I didn't get to read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the Broke & the Bookish.

Welcome to the first Top Ten I'm doing in 2017. Today's topic is about the 2016 releases that I wanted to read, but didn't get around to reading.

1. Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan - I've loved his Percy Jackson books, and when I read the first of the Magnus Chase books, I enjoyed it. I've really looked forward to this book. So perhaps, I'll get to it this year.

2. Heartless by Marissa Meyer - I couldn't work this one into my schedule when it was released. But I was given it for Christmas, so I'll be reading it this year.

3. Love Everlasting by Julie Lessman - Julie is one of my favorite authors. I had pre-ordered the book months before it released. But when it released, I wasn't in a reading mood. But I hope to get to it soon.

4. Worthy Heart by Susan Anne Mason - The first book, Irish Meadows, had been on my too read list for AGES. Mom had a copy, so I read it over Christmas. Rented this one from the library, and while I started it in 2016, I'll be finishing it this month.

5. One Enchanted Eve by Melissa Tagg - This is a really short novella that I know I'll love, but I've just not gotten around to it yet.

6. The Undoing of Saint Silvanus by Beth Moore - I've done a couple of her Bible studies over the years. I'm interested in seeing what her first fiction book is like.

7. Kissing Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn - Yes, I admit that there is a book by Robin that I've not gotten around to reading. It's been in my car since October.

8. Home on the Range by Ruth Logan Herne - Another one that I started in 2016, but haven't finished yet.

9. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton - I've seen this on a lot of blogs over the past year. I keep checking for it at the library. Hopefully, soon I'll find it.

10. The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury - As much as I enjoy fairy tale retellings, I'm sure to enjoy this one.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Saturday Scribbles Vol 2.17

Welcome my reader friends to the last day of 2016. I know I've been remiss in not having a Saturday post since September. But today, I have one for you.

2016 has been a whirlwind. I'm looking at the calendar and I still find it hard to believe that the year is over. It seems like we just started this year yesterday. This has been an interesting year to say the least. For months, we were watching a crazy election season happen. I saw a few wonderful movies - Captain America, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (twice), and Star Wars: Rogue One. My Mary Kay business has done pretty well for itself this year. I think I had more parties booked this year than I've had in several years. And, of course, I read a lot.

Speaking of reading, I'm making some changes to what I'll review. Somehow, this year, I found myself in a serious reading slump. This slump lasted for months. And honestly, the cause for it was that because of all of the titles I kept requesting to review, I wasn't finding any joy in my reading. Even when these were books that I wanted to read. So I've got a plan. I will still review. But I'm going to cut back. I won't request titles EVERY time I get an email from the publisher with available titles. One of the publishers allows me to have as many out as I would like as long as I can get the reviews up within that month. So if I see 5 titles available to review, I'm only going to select one. For three of the other publishers I review for, I may not request a title every month. I have also made the decision to not accept any new author requests right now. This may include my saying no to being on launch teams, or something like that. Because I want reading to be fun. I don't want it to feel like it's something that I have to do. Over the course of a two-week period, I read the entire Selection series by Kiera Cass, because I wanted to read it. I wasn't reading it to review it, but for fun.

There's going to be a few minor changes to my blog as well. Yes it will still be structured the same way. Book related posts M-F, Top Ten Tuesday, and Saturday Scribbles. But I'm not going to do Saturday Scribbles or Top Ten Tuesday every week. For the Scribbles, I'm hoping to have one a month, maybe more. I'm only going to do the Top Ten when I like the topic.

So whatever 2017 brings for you, I hope that it will be a great year!

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Silent Songbird - A Review

Published - November 2016, Thomas Nelson
Author - Melanie Dickerson
Title - The Silent Songbird
Format - ebook, paper, audio
Find on Amazon

About the book (from Goodreads):
Evangeline longs to be free, to live in the world outside the castle walls. But freedom comes at a cost. Evangeline is the ward and cousin of King Richard II, and yet she dreams of a life outside of Berkhamsted Castle, where she might be free to marry for love and not politics. But the young king betroths her to his closest advisor, Lord Shiveley, a man twice as old as Evangeline. Desperate to escape a life married to a man she finds revolting, Evangeline runs away from the king and joins a small band of servants on their way back to their home village. To keep her identity a secret, Evangeline pretends to be mute. Evangeline soon regrets the charade as she gets to know Wesley, the handsome young leader of the servants, whom she later discovers is the son of a wealthy lord. But she cannot reveal her true identity for fear she will be forced to return to King Richard and her arranged marriage. Wesley le Wyse is intrigued by the beautiful new servant girl. When he learns that she lost her voice from a beating by a cruel former master, he is outraged. But his anger is soon redirected when he learns she has been lying to him. Not only is she not mute, but she isn't even a servant. Weighed down by remorse for deceiving Wesley, Evangeline fears no one will ever love her. But her future is not the only thing at stake, as she finds herself embroiled in a tangled web that threatens England's monarchy. Should she give herself up to save the only person who cares about her? If she does, who will save the king from a plot to steal his throne? 

My Thoughts:
Loosely based on the fairy tale, The Little Mermaid, Melanie Dickerson brings readers another delightful, medieval romance. One of the things that I loved about this book is that it is connected to The Merchant's Daughter. Sure, it's set in the same fictional world as the author's other fairy tale retellings, but this one is a sequel to the Merchant's Daughter. As with any of the books in this series, this one stands alone.

I loved Evangeline from the moment that she appeared in the book. I loved how she was determined to prove that she could in fact pretend to be a servant. She tried so hard. In some ways, it was rather comical. I also thought that Wesley was almost too perfect. I'd guess his biggest flaw was his anger. But even with that, the book was very enjoyable. I'm eager to see where the author takes the reader in her next fairy tale novel as well as which fairy tale will be retold. 

I received the Kindle version of this book for free from the publisher as part of the Booklook Bloggers program. I was asked to give my honest opinion about the book, which I have done. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of fairy tales, young adult, Melanie Dickerson, Jessica Day George

Rating - 4 stars

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

For the Record - A Review

Published - December 2016, Bethany House Publishers
Series - Ozark Mountain Romance Book 3
Author - Regina Jennings
Title - For the Record
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

Betsy Huckabee dreams of being a reporter for a newspaper bigger than her uncle's paper. But the bigger papers don't seem to be interested in the news coming out of Hart's County. So she decides to try something new. She starts writing a fictionalized serial based in part on the new deputy. She figures no one in Pine Gap will ever know. Deputy Joel Puckett never wanted to leave Texas. But the only way to keep his badge is to be a lawman in Pine Gap. He soon realizes that there are masked marauders testing his patience and skills. Add into the mix a sassy journalist determined to make a name for herself, Joel soon has his hands full. But as he gets to know Betsy, he knows she's hiding something. Will her secret stories tear them apart or bring them together?

This book was delightful! I remember first meeting Betsy when she was a child in one of the author's other books. I couldn't wait to see her grow up and fall in love.

Betsy is spunky. She's determined. She's a bit unconventional. But she's got a good heart. And I loved how she interacted with Joel. Even to the point that she was beginning to confuse real life with her fictional hero. I loved how she tried to make things right when she realized what she'd done to Joel. Joel is perfect for Betsy. He has a way about really seeing her that I loved.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was fun, full of witty banter, and just very uplifting. I didn't have to think as I read this book.

I received complimentary copies from both the author to promote and the publisher to give my honest opinion. I passed one copy on to one of my family members. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Regina Jennings, Mary Connealy, Karen Witemeyer, Jody Hedlund

Rating - 4 stars

Monday, December 5, 2016

Best Christmas Gift Ever - A Review

Published - October 2016, Worthy Books
Author - Melinda Rumbaugh
Title - Best Christmas Gift Ever
Format - board book
Find on Amazon

About the book (from Amazon):
In this festive VeggieTales book, the Veggies are celebrating Christmas -- decorating the tree, singing carols, and exchanging gifts. But even though it's so much fun to give and receive presents, the Veggies all know that the greatest gift of all was God's gift of Jesus, his Son. Children will love the colorful art featuring their favorite Veggie friends. Parents can use this book to introduce little ones to the reason we rejoice at Christmastime -- Jesus' birth. Ages 2-5.

My thoughts:
This book was super cute. I've always loved Veggie Tales, and reading one of the books was a joy for me. In fact, as I was reading it to with my friend's daughter, she kept telling me that she liked this book. This little one is 2 and a half. She is the perfect age for this book. It's very bright and engaging. Plus, it's simple. 

I received this book for free as part of the First Look Blog program in order to give my honest opinion of it. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of VeggieTales, parents of young children

Rating - 4 stars

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Where Two Hearts Meet - A Review

Published - October 2016, Revell Books
Series - Prince Edward Island Dreams Book 2
Author - Liz Johnson
Title - Where Two Hearts Meet
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

About the book (from Amazon):
In her kitchen at the Red Door Inn, executive chef Caden Holt is calm, collected, and competent. But when her boss asks her to show off their beautiful island to impress a visiting travel writer and save the inn, Caden is forced to face a world much bigger than her kitchen--and a man who makes her wish she was beautiful. Journalist Adam Jacobs is on a forced sabbatical on Prince Edward Island. He's also on assignment to uncover a story. Instead he's falling in love with the island's red shores and Caden's sweets. When Caden discovers Adam isn't who she thought he was, she realizes that the article he's writing could do more than ruin the inn's chances for survival--it might also break her heart.

My Thoughts:
When I met Caden in the first book, I wanted to know more about her. So when I saw that her story was going to the be the next book, I was thrilled. 

I have to admit that this one was hard for me to get into. I'm not saying that I didn't enjoy it, just that I had a hard time getting into the book. Still as the book went along, I was swept away into the beauty of both the story and the setting of Prince Edward Island.

I enjoyed getting to know both Caden and Adam. I loved seeing what came out of Caden's kitchen and watching Adam fall in love with her.

I'm looking forward to the third book in the series. 

I received a complimentary copy of the book as a part of the Revell Reads blogger program. I was not required to like the book, only give my honest opinion. 

Recommended to fans of women's fiction, Susan May Warren, Julie Klassen, Becky Wade, Melissa Tagg

Rating - 4 stars

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Storm - A Review

Published - November 2016, Revell Books
Series - Stone Braide Chronicles Book 3
Author - Bonnie S. Calhoun
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon

About the book (from Amazon):
Now that Glade, Selah's protecting force, is gone, the hunt is on to capture her. Selah has survived the forces of both man and nature to reunite her family. But her happiness is short-lived as they are forced into a barren world of volcanic ash that conceals the storm boiling beneath. The clock is ticking and Selah's abilities are growing--along with the list of those out for her blood. Selah feels unworthy of her status as a novarium and is tortured by the knowledge of lives lost to protect her. Her physical and mental abilities will tempt her to be reckless, but she must learn to wield such power responsibly. Time is running out as more lives are tragically cut short and the search for the Third Protocol takes Selah into lands that have fallen into legend. Can Selah follow the trail of ancient artifacts and finish the quest? Or have she and her companions pinned their hopes on nothing more than a fanciful story?

My Thoughts:
I read book 1 when it came out. Then somehow forgot about book 2. So when book 3 showed up as a title I could select to review, I jumped at it. Though I knew I needed to read book 2 first.

After renting the second book from the library and finishing it, I dived into this one. This one picked right up where the second one left off. I liked Selah from the beginning of the series. One of the best things was watching her grow and develop in this one. She's learned to control her powers. I also loved how she learned to trust others. Her journey isn't easy, and she needs all of the assistance that she can get.

I still don't have a clear understanding of Landers and what makes them so unique. That could be because I read this one so quickly that I may have missed something.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher as part of the Revell Reads blogging program. I was asked only to share my honest opinion. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of dystopian fiction, young adult

Rating - 4 stars