Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wild Thing - A Review

Published - May 2011, Tyndale House Publishers
Series - Winnie, the Horse Gentler Book 1
Author - Dandi Daley Mackall
Title - Wild Thing
Format - ebook, paper
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Winnie Willis loves horses. Some might even say she has a gift. When she comes across an Arabian that is obviously being mistreated, Winnie befriends the horse. With all they have in savings, Winnie and her sister convince their father to purchase the horse at auction and allow Winnie to prepare her for sale. The only drawback, Winnie would love to keep the Arabian for her own. Will she get her wish?

It has been a  very long time since I read a book about horses. I remember loving the horse books by Marguerite Henry growing up.

This was a pretty quick read. I spent most of Sunday afternoon reading it. I loved the characters of Lizzy, Catman, and Barker. I loved too how each of those characters used their unique gifts to relate to various animals.

I loved how Winnie went through times of not sure if the work she was doing with the horse would be successful or if her father would even notice her. She also struggled with forgiving herself for her mother's death. And being under the impression that her father blamed her. That discovery was, for me, one of the most poignant pieces of the book.

I read this book as part of the Tyndale Summer Reading program. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of horses, the Babysitter Club, Sandra Byrd

Rating - 4 stars

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

All for a Story - A Review

Published - October 2013, Tyndale House Publishers
Series - All For Book 2
Author - Allison Pittman
Title - All for a Story
Format - ebook, paper
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Monica Bisbaine  loves all that the Roaring Twenties has to offer. She is frequently heading to the speakeasys and other places that a good girl really shouldn't be at. Yet, she finds herself wanting more. When Max Moore inherits the paper that Monica writes for, he is determined to bring changes to it. He wants to make it more than a tabloid. He wants to turn it into an uplifting and encouraging paper. When Max tells Monica that she needs to infiltrate the Anti-Flirt Club and to write a piece about them, Monica resists. Yet as she gets into the assignment, she discovers that maybe it's time for her to quit being the way that she is and to truly change.

It's been a long time since I read one of Allison Pittman's books. I can't really say why other than they've not made it onto my radar. This one was one I saw I had on my Kindle and saw it was on the Summer Reading list, so I thought why not.

I found it rather hard to hold my attention. Parts of it were really good. But I also thought that parts were really dull. Maybe it was the language of the Twenties. Maybe it was the way that Monica didn't really want to change. I don't know. It left  me feeling a little disappointed.

I'm also not really sure that I liked the way that the threads of the story were not completely resolved. I liked the hopeful ending, but the way that that ending came about, I think I missed something. I know it's part of a series, but I also know it stands alone.

Still it was rich in historical detail. Others may enjoy this, but for me, this time period isn't one I really like to read about.

I read this book as part of the Tyndale Summer Reading Program. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of historical fiction, Roaring Twenties, Jessica Dotta

Rating - 3 stars

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books I Really Want to Read by Don't Own Yet

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly theme hosted over on The Broke & The Bookish

This week's Top Ten is the Top Ten Books I Really Want to Read but I Don't Own Yet. And while it was fairly simple for me to come up with some, I realized as I was writing them down on a sticky note, that I've actually four categories of ones I don't own. So my top ten is broken down into these categories:
1. Books I've read but don't own that I would like to
2. Books I want to read but don't own yet
3. Books that aren't yet published that I will own
4. Review copies I have that I've not yet had a chance to read.

So here are my top ten.

Books I've Read that I Don't Yet Own but Want to Own

1. For Such a Time by Kate Breslin - This was a beautiful retelling of Esther set in WWII.
2. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Mariller - This one is based on the fairy tale, Seven Swans, which has long been one of my favorites. It's probably the only one from the series I really want to own.

Books I Want to Read but Don't Own Yet

3. Desires of a Baron by Rose Gordon - I've just not been able to get this one yet. I will soon though.
4. Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson - I love her fairy tale books. This one isn't one of those, but it has captured my attention.
5. Cinder by Marissa Meyer - I keep hearing great things about this book. I've really got to get it read soon.

Books Not Yet Published That I Will Own

6. Home of Our Hearts by Robin Jones Gunn - I cannot wait to continue reading about Christy & Todd and their married life!
7.  Always on My Mind by Susan May Warren - The next installment in the Christiansen series. I'm in love with this family and can't wait to read this one.

Review Copies I Own That I Need to Read

8. Bride in Store by Melissa Jagears - I got this in the other day and need to get it onto my schedule. I enjoyed the first in the series.
9. The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate - I've heard great things about this author and I'm excited to finally getting around to reading one of her books.
10. Through the Deep Waters by Kim Vogel Sawyer - I've enjoyed her other books. I enjoy reading about the Harvey Girls. I'm sure I'll enjoy this one.

So there you have it. My top ten books I'm looking forward to reading soon. What is on your list? Let me know in the comments.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Revenge of the Red Knight - A Review

Published - February 2012, Focus on the Family
Author - Marianne Hering
Series - Adventures in Odyssey Imagination Station Book 4
Title - Revenge of the Red Knight
Format - ebook, paper
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Cousins Beth and Patrick are trying to help Mr. Whittaker reclaim several missing treasures from a treasure room in ancient England. They've been to Greenland, the time of Kublai Khan, and now they are in England in the 1400's. It's here that they meet Hugh, a man they soon realize is a villain.  Will they be successful in restoring the historical treasures?

I think that it would have been very helpful for me to have read books 1-3 in the series before this one. But I didn't. Still I was able to enjoy it.

I did find that this one didn't have the nuggets of truth that some of the later ones I read do. In some ways, I think that the author was trying too hard to make the storyline work. But I can still see kids enjoying this one. I probably read this in about 30 minutes.

While this one wasn't my favorite of the Imagination Station series, I liked it.

I rented this book from the library to read as part of Tyndale's Summer Reading Program. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Adventures in Odyssey, I survived, Magic Tree House, kids ages 7-9

Rating - 3 stars

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Forever With You - A Review

Published - June 2014, Robin's Nest Productions
Series - Christy & Todd: The Married Years Book 1
Author - Robin Jones Gunn
Title - Forever with You
Format - ebook, paper
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Summary (from Amazon):
When Christy Miller met Todd Spencer the summer she turned fifteen she only dreamed that theirs would be a forever love. 

Now that they have been married for almost two years, Christy and Todd are facing challenges neither of them expected. Everything that felt familiar in their relationship is being shaken. All they had hoped for in their future together is about to change. 

When Christy shares her life-altering news with Todd, she doesn't receive the joyful response she was expecting. Aunt Marti inserts a few strong opinions about how the young couple should navigate this difficult season and when Todd's dad asks for help renovating his Newport Beach home it's clear that nothing will ever be the same for them again. 

As Christy and Todd''s relationship is radically altered will they continue to drift apart? Or will they come through the major shifts with a deeper love for each other and the One who brought them together in the first place?

My Thoughts:
I have loved the Christy Miller books from the time that I was introduced to them while I was in junior high. I've followed Christy over the years as she grew up. So needless to say, when I heard that Robin was writing a series about Christy and Todd and their married life, I was beyond thrilled. Because these characters are old friends of mine. 

When I finally got my hands on a copy of this first book in the series, everything in me screamed to immediately dive into it. Yet I forced myself to wait. I had review copies I needed to finish, things going on in both my business and work. I wanted to be able to truly enjoy this book. So I waited. And waited. Until a couple of weeks ago when I was tired, emotionally exhausted, and wanting to read something that I could read for pleasure and not because I had to. So I picked up the book.

Immediately, I was welcomed back into Christy's world as if no time had gone by at all. For those of you new to the Christy books, I highly recommend reading them in order (Christy Miller Series, Sierra Jensen Series, Christy & Todd the College Years, Christy's Diary, Katie Weldon Series, Love Finds You in Sunset Beach Hawaii, and then this one). This book picks up where the fourth Katie book ends.

Christy and Todd have both matured from the time I met them as teens. It was fun to see them struggling to make ends meet. I loved them in these new roles. I loved getting to catch back up with Uncle Bob and Aunt Marti. I also loved how they each have grown so much in their faith. And the way that they have learned to trust God in so many different ways now.

Can you tell I loved this book? I did. And I'm eagerly awaiting the next one in the series.

I read this book for pure pleasure. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Robin Jones Gunn, Christy Miller, contemporary fiction, Becky Wade, young adult

Rating - 5 stars

Saturday, August 23, 2014

With Every Breath - A Review

Published - July, 2014 Bethany House Publishers
Author - Elizabeth Camden
Title - With Every Breath
Format - ebook, paper
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Government worker Kate Livingston is good with numbers. Yet her current supervisor fires anyone who seeks a better position. She lost out on a college scholarship to Trevor McDonough and has had to work hard for everything ever since. When she is invited to interview for a data position at the hospital, Kate is shocked and startled to learn that the young doctor is none other than Trevor McDonough, her old rival. Even though it means working closely with Trevor on a daily basis, Kate accepts the position to analyze data in the hopes of finding a cure for tuberculosis. She soon is fascinated by not only the data, but by the secrets Trevor is hiding. Can she trust her heart to him? And when Trevor's secret is exposed, will they both learn to trust?

I've read several of Elizabeth Camden's books over the years and each one is beautifully written and researched. I think that this one may be my favorite one of hers to date.

First, I love the cover. It's so pretty. It's light and airy and I had no idea of the depths of the book just by looking at the cover.

I also loved Kate. It's not often that I read about a heroine who is smart and actually gets to use her intelligence! So that was very refreshing. I loved her struggle, especially once she knew that she loved Trevor, on whether or not she could let him go if need be. She'd already lost one person she loved, and I understood how she was afraid to allow herself to care for someone else she may loose.

Trevor was a character who was wounded by things in his life, but he was determined to help others, even at the risk of his own health. I loved how he was willing to step up and take action for what he believed in.

Overall, I'd have to say that this was a surprising book for me. I certainly didn't see the twist of Trevor's past being what it was. I also was surprised that I read this in about 4 hours one night, when I'd really not been meaning to at all.

I received this book for free from Bethany House for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Elizabeth Camden, Jody Hedlund, historical fiction

Rating - 5 stars

Friday, August 22, 2014

Problems in Plymouth - A Review

Published - April, 2012, Focus on the Family
Series - Adventures in Odyssey Imagination Station Book 6
Authors - Marianne Hering, Marshall Younger
Title - Problems in Plymouth
Format - ebook, paper
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Cousins Beth and Patrick have been hopping through time on adventure after adventure on the trail of Hugh, an evil Englishman from the 1400's. They have managed to follow him to Plymouth and need to capture him before tensions rise to a boiling point between the Pilgrims and the Indians. Will the cousins be successful or will they change the course of history forever?

I've grown up loving the Adventures in Odyssey Radio Series. When I saw that the Tyndale Summer Reading Program had several of the Imagination Station books on the reading list, I happily requested some from the library.

This is book 6 in the Imagination Station books, and they don't have to be read in order. I love how the kids learn truths like how to depend on God and to share with others. I think that kids would really enjoy these books.

I enjoyed how the cousins got to experience the first Thanksgiving and meeting some of the Pilgrims. I can easily see how kids would be fascinated with the cousins' adventures.

I rented this book from the library to read as part of the Tyndale Summer Reading Program. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Adventures in Odyssey, Magic Tree House, I Survived Series, kids ages 7-9.

Rating - 4 stars