Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Bookish Things I have quit

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke & the Bookish.

Welcome to another edition of Top Ten Tuesday.

This week the topic is the top ten bookish things I've quit. And this can include series I've abandoned, authors I won't read anymore, etc. So my list is a combination.

1. Karen Kingsbury - I stopped reading her books about 2 years ago because I was frustrated with recycled plots, and stories about fame & fortune. I've not missed reading her books either.

2. George R R Martin - I abandoned his Song of Ice & Fire series several years ago. I don't think I've even read book 5, Dance with Dragons. As a result, I've abandoned his books too.

3. Song of Ice and Fire series - Since it has taken Martin FOREVER to write book 6, I've given up. From what I understand, the TV show has caught up to where he's at in the books, so I don't know how that will work.

4. Divergent Series by Veronica Roth - I'm just not that interested in finishing the series. I read the first one. It was ok.

5. House of Winslow series by Gilbert Morris - I gave up on this series around book 20. I've got no interest in picking it back up.

6. Jessica Dotta - I read her first book and didn't like it, so I've not picked up anything else of hers.

7. Tad Williams - I've read several of his books over the years. And then I just sorta lost interest in him.

8. Stephenie Meyer - I seriously doubt I'll read anything else she writes. Wasn't impressed with the Twilight series.

And that's all I can think of.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Mistress of Tall Acre - A Review

Published - September 2015, Revell Books
Author - Laura Frantz
Title - Mistress of Tall Acre
Format - ebook, paper
Find on Amazon 

Summary (from Amazon): The American Revolution is finally over, and Sophie Menzies is starved for good news. When her nearest neighbor, General Seamus Ogilvy, finally comes home to Tall Acre, she hopes it is a sign of better days to come. But the general is now a widower with a small daughter in desperate need of a mother. Nearly destitute, Sophie agrees to marry Seamus and become the mistress of Tall Acre in what seems a safe, sensible arrangement. But when a woman from the general's past returns without warning, the ties that bind this fledgling family together will be strained to the utmost. When all is said and done, who will be the rightful mistress of Tall Acre?

My Thoughts: I have loved every single one of Laura's books I've read and this one was no exception. It was very easy to be drawn into Sophie's world. She may be the daughter of the midwife, but because of her father's Tory leanings, she has been ostracized. Yet the moment that she meets Lily-Cate, my heart melted. Both for Sophie and for the little girl. And Seamus wasn't sure how to manage the females in his life. But he does. It takes him some time though.

There is so much that happens to help both Sophie and Seamus grow. My heart broke for them at times. But their faith remains strong though it is sorely tested. And when the book ends, I had a silly grin across my face because I was thrilled. 

I really hope that this one is the first in a series because I didn't want to say goodbye to these characters!

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

Recommended to fans of drama, Laura Frantz, Jody Hedlund, Francine Rivers

Rating - 5 stars 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Last Chance Hero - A Review

Published - September 2015, Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group
Series - A Place to Call Home Book 4
Author - Cathleen Armstrong
Title - Last Chance Hero
Format - ebook, paper
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Dr. Jessica McLeod is excited about starting up her new practice in the small town of Last Chance, New Mexico. There's one problem. The townspeople are reluctant to switch doctors even though they are thrilled that Last Chance finally has its own doctor. Jess longs to get involved in the community. Her best option to do so is to attend the high school football games. Jess knows absolutely nothing about football and doesn't understand the way that EVERYONE in the town seems to live and breathe football. To complicate matters, Jess finds herself drawn to the new football coach, Andy Ryan. Andy's the town's golden boy. He was on the football team during the town's Glory Days and went on to play in the NFL. Now that he's back, the town expects a return of the Glory Days. Andy tries to tell people that this is a different time, different team, but the expectations are very high. As he gets to know Jessica, he discovers that she's the only person in the town who doesn't care about the Glory Days. Yet when they clash over the treatment of an injured player, will their friendship survive?

I've read all of the others in this series and enjoyed them. This one didn't have the same feel to it. For starters, it is classified as a romance, but I didn't really pick up on the romance. Truthfully, I thought that Andy and Jessica's friendship was in fact opening doors to their romance. But I wouldn't go so far to classify this as a romance. It's a sweet story, and I did read it quickly. This one also left a lot of issues unresolved. I also found that it ended rather abruptly.

It was fun to reconnect with some of the other characters from the Last Chance books. But I wish that there had been more to the development of Andy & Jess's romance. Maybe that'll come more to play in the next book. I don't know.

I'll admit that I'm not a football fan. My knowledge is slightly more than that of Jess's. So her trying to understand why everyone seemed to live and breathe football made sense to me. I got that. And I understand that she was willing to make an attempt. I liked that about her. I didn't really like the fact that Jess would use her status as a doctor to ensure that football related activities did not take one of her patient's focus off of his grades. I loved Andy's conversation with Jess after that. He made her think about the student and was she really acting in the kid's best interest.

There were a lot of things I wish had been developed more or even resolved. Andy and his father's relationship had potential. Jess's faith journey. Her suspicions of  one of her patients. These are just to name a few.

Don't get me wrong. I liked the book. I didn't love it. It's just ok. It didn't have as much depth as I'd hoped. But it was enjoyable.

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

Recommended to fans of Friday Night Lights, football, contemporary fiction

Rating - 3 stars

Monday, September 28, 2015

Chivalrous - A Review

Published - September 2015, Bethany House Publishers
Series - Valiant Hearts Book 2
Author - Dina L. Sleiman
Title - Chivalrous
Format - ebook, paper
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Allen of Ellsworth has grown more than just in height over the last year. He's been training as a squire and dreams of being a knight. When his dream is granted, he is thrilled to be able to seek his fortune as a knight in the dukedom of North Britannia where justice prevails. Yet once he arrives in the dukedom, Allen discovers that the ideals that the duke promotes are not held in high esteem by all of the nobles. Lady Gwendolyn Barnes has on numerous occasions defied her father and trained in combat with her brothers. She longs for a chance to be a knight. Yet because of her gender, she finds herself regarded as something to be bartered for. The man her father wants her to marry is a cruel brute. When a tournament held on the lands of the duke comes up, Gwendolyn seizes the opportunity to don her armor and fight in what may be her last chance of freedom. As both Allen and Gwendolyn meet and get to know one another, they find that their hearts are drawn towards each other. But a future between them seems impossible. Will this idyllic dukedom provide Allen with the place of belonging that he longs for? And when circumstances are questioned, is there any way for Gwendolyn to find the happiness and freedom she longs for?

What a delight it was to return to the world of Allen of Ellsworth. I grew attached to him in Dauntless and was thrilled that he got his own story. This book has the elements of King Arthur's court. There is chivalry, romance, kidnappings, and of course treason. At times, I felt that I was reading a version of the popular movie The Knight's Tale.

I loved both Allen and Gwen. They both grow and change in the book. My heart broke at one point when Allen had to make a specific decision. But I still loved them.

While I'll admit that this one took me longer than usual to read, but once I finally started it, I was glad to read it. It's a great story. I'm hoping that there will be more to come with both the characters from this one and the first one.

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

Recommended to fans of Robin Hood, King Arthur, Camelot, knights, ladies, Knight's Tale, young adult fiction

Rating - 4 stars

Friday, September 25, 2015

Secrets She Kept - A Review

Published - August 2015, Tyndale House Publishers
Author - Cathy Gohlke
Title - Secrets She Kept
Format - ebook, paper, audio
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After her mother's death, Hannah Sterling wishes that they could have been closer. All of her life, Hannah felt that Lieselotte did not love her and was incapable of love. When she overhears a conversation between her aunt and a family friend, Hannah is determined to find the answers that will unlock Lieselotte's past and possible provide closure for Hannah. One startling discovery is that Hannah has a grandfather living in Germany. To discover all she can about her mother, Hannah travels to Germany. There she discovers that thirty years before, Lieselotte's father was quickly ascending the ranks of the Nazi Party and that he wanted an advantageous marriage for his daughter - not Lukas, the boy Lieselotte has loved for years. Lieselotte had no idea how far exactly her father would go to ensure her cooperation, and his actions lead to a rift that Hannah has no hope of bridging. Hannah's grandfather is also hiding wartime secrets. His secrets force Hannah to reevaluate all she knows about her mother and to figure out how she can atone for her family's tragic past as well as use the information to shape her future.

Every since I read Promise Me This, I've discovered that Cathy's books are very gripping. They have a tendency to hold me captive and not let me go. This one was no exception.

Set both in WWII and the 1970's, I was captivated. I had an idea as to where Lieselotte's story was going and I wasn't surprised to discover that I was right. Hannah's story on the other hand, I had no idea in what direction her story would go. I loved the WWII portion better than the other. But overall, it was a good book.

Both Hannah and Lieselotte are deep characters. Yet what I really loved is how Hannah's attitude changed toward her mother as she learned exactly what happened. For a while, it seemed that every character in the book had a secret. And some of those secrets were huge. But the way things resolve after they came to light, made wading through the secrets worth it.

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

Recommended to fans of Laura Frantz, WWII, Brock & Bodie Thoene, Kristy Cambron

Rating - 4 stars

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Falling Like Snowflakes - A Review

Published - September 2015, Thomas Nelson Books
Series - Summer Harbor Book 1
Author - Denise Hunter
Title - Falling Like Snowflakes
Format - ebook, paper
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On the run from those who are supposed to protect her, Eden Martelli is trying to reach rural Maine. Her young son is dozing in the backseat when her car breaks down in Summer Harbor. After the unfortunate loss of all of her funds, Eden is literally stranded. She has no choice but to remain in Summer Harbor for the foreseeable future. With the holidays approaching, Eden knows she must find work, any kind of work, that will keep her son and herself from sleeping on a park bench in the cold fall temperatures. Beau Callahan is a former sheriff's deputy who is working full time on the family's Christmas tree farm after the death of his parents. When his very independent aunt suffers a fall that will require someone to stay with her to ensure that she won't overdo, Beau doesn't know what to do. He discovers a solution to the problem when Eden shows up looking for work at the same time that his aunt is released from the hospital - Eden gets a place to stay and a job while his aunt gets the help she needs. But his years in law enforcement have him sensing that Eden, or "Kate" as she calls herself, is hiding something. Love is the last thing Eden wants. Yet she finds herself being drawn into the Callahan family and fiercely attracted to Beau. But will her past ruin any chances that they may have together?

I think that I've loved just about every single one of Denise Hunter's books that I've read. This one was no exception. It's fun, sweet, and full of endearing characters. It was a perfect mix of pure fluff along with great storytelling.

I found that Eden's character was stronger than she first appears. I had suspicions about why she was on the run, and some of them proved to be right. Beau was a character I didn't really connect with. I'm not sure why. I liked him. But I don't know. I just didn't connect with him like I have with other characters in the past. Of all of the characters, my favorite was his aunt. She was delightful and spunky and I just adored her. I do look forward to seeing more of both her and Beau and Eden in the next books in the series. I'm also looking forward to reading the stories of the other Callahan brothers.

I received this book for free from the Booklook Blogger Program for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of romantic comedy, Janice Thompson, Denise Hunter, Becky Wade, Melissa Tagg

Rating - 4 stars

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Luther & Katharnia - A Review

Published - October 2015, Waterbrook/Multnomah
Author - Jody Hedlund
Title - Luther & Katharina
Format - ebook, paper
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Martin Luther is the leader in the movement to reform the church. He is known as a heretic by many. Yet his teachings have touched the hearts of several nuns, among them Katharina von Bora. Since she was five years old, Katharina has lived a secluded life in the abbey. When she escapes with several other nuns, they soon find refuge with Martin Luther. All Katharina wants is for Luther to arrange her marriage to a nobleman. Luther fully understands that with tensions rising, he should never take a wife. After all, there have already been several attempts on his life. Yet as much as he tries to deny it, Katharina's fiery nature and her intelligence draw him like a moth to a flame. Will they both discover that perhaps a penniless monk and a noble nun can find happiness and love together?

Jody Hedlund is by far one of my favorite authors. While her other books have been historical, this particular one is very different. You see, in her others, she may base them on the lives of historical people, but changes the names. In this one, no names are changed.

I'll admit I know who Martin Luther was. I don't know much about his life, but I do know who he was. What I didn't know was all that went on in this time period. There really is so much going on that I was shocked. There are also some customs that were normal then that I was like what?!

I loved the romance between Luther and Katharina. I loved how neither one wanted it and that it kinda snuck up on them. I also loved how great they were together. The betrothal ceremony and the need for witnesses did not make sense to my modern mind. But a recent blog post I read by Jody explains that custom in a whole lot more detail.

This book really is packed full with adventure, mystery, romance, and grace. It's unlike any of her others, but it is still wonderful. It probably took me a day or two to read (yes I put everything else down).

I recommend this anyone who loves history, love historical romance, loves church history.

I received this book for free from the author to help promote. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Laura Frantz, Jody Hedlund, Kristy Cambron

Rating - 4 stars

*Note - this review will appear on Amazon once the book has been released, which is October 6, 2015.