Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Right Where I Belong - A Review

Natalia Lopez is tired of her father's love them and leave them attitude. When he divorces his third wife, Natalia leaves Spain with her stepmother to move to Florida. She's got a lot to adjust to - a grieving stepmother, a Christian school, and boys who are interested in her. She has sworn off love and boys because of how her father treated the women he married, yet she's drawn to Brian, the pastor's son. As the two get to know each other, they find that they are both drawn to the other's love of God and sincere desire to be a witness for Him. Will Natalia allow God to work in her life?

This is the third book I've read by Krista MCGee and I really enjoyed it. It's a fast read. The characters are fun and well developed. This is a retelling of Ruth. What I loved the most about it was when both Brian and Natalia realized their calling, and it wasn't necessarily to do what their parents wished. I look forward to reading more by this author.

I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson's Booksneeze program for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommend for fans of Christy Miller, Jenny B. Jones, and Ally Carter.

Rating - 4 stars

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Unending Devotion - A Review

Photographer assistant Lily Young has one goal - find her sister and rescue her from the life of prostitution that she's been leading. As Lily travels the lumber camps during Michigan's winter months, she saves several girls, but hasn't had luck in locating her sister. The photography work brings her to the small lumber community of Harrison where she meets Connell McCormick, the boss of three different camps. Sparks fly between the two of them as they clash heads over Lily's determination to find her sister and Connell's refusal to acknowledge that things need to change in the town.When Lily's life is put into danger, will Connell be able to rescue the woman he's fallen in love with and stand up to the evil in the town, or will he allow things to stay the way they are and lose any chance he has with Lily?

While this isn't my favorite book by Jody Hedlund, I did enjoy it. Lily is a very strong character. She is very determined and at times, that determination is a major fault for her as well. Connell is determined to live his life in such a way that he glorifies God. The only thing he struggles with is that he needs to take action against the evil in the town. Both Connell and Lily stumble and fall and grow in their relationships with each other and with others. Unlike Hedlund's other books, this one isn't based specifically on the life of someone in history, rather the villain in the book is based on someone from history.

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

Recommended to fans of Elizabeth Camden, Laura Frantz, Julie Klassen, Maggie Brendan, Karen Witemeyer.

Rating - 4 stars

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Deposit Slip - A Review

When Jared Neaton is handed a lawsuit involving a deposit slip and a large sum of money, he sees this as a chance to put his struggling law practice in the black for a long time. With the opposition throwing everything they have at him and trying to stop him, Jared is determined to get to the truth. Yet even with the outcome becoming increasingly not in his favor, Jared still struggles to find answers for his client. As he searches for answers, he finds himself back in his hometown and trying to understand the course his father took all those years ago.

This is the first book I've ever read by Todd Johnson. And while it took me a while to actually pick it up and read it, mainly because it's not my typical genre, once I finally started reading it, I really enjoyed it. This was a legal thriller that had me guessing at the outcome. I didn't see the way that things were playing out until right at the end. I really liked the character of Jessie, Jared's secretary. She was a strong character who knew what she wanted. When Jared realizes that he's turning into the same man that his father was, he changes. And that's a turning point for him, and for how he is going about the case.

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

Recommended to fans of Robert Whitlow, Steven James, Randy Singer, Davis Bunn, and courtroom dramas.

Rating - 4 stars

Marshal's Promise Giveaway Winner

It was so much fun seeing all of the comments. Thank you Rhonda for being my first interview and for providing a copy of the book to the winner.

Using Random.org, the winner is Jes!

Congratulations. I've emailed you so you can send me your contact info and tell me if you would prefer the book as a paperback or as an e-book.

Happy reading.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Christmas Roses - A Review

Celia Anderson is a young widow with a baby daughter and is praying that more boarders will show up to help her make ends meet. The last thing she wants is to remarry even if it means her daughter would have a father.When wandering carpenter Mark Williams arrives on her door looking for a place to stay, she doesn't expect him to work his way into her heart. After all, she'll only remarry if the man she marries brings her roses for Christmas. Mark is searching for answers and finds the small Wyoming town a good spot to stay for the winter before continuing on his quest. He sure wasn't expecting to have his heart stolen by a beautiful widow and her infant daughter. He also wasn't expecting to make peace with the God she loves. Will he figure out a way to give Celia roses for Chirstmas?

This is the first book I've ever read by Amanda Cabot. This was a really sweet story that shows how Christmas is a time of miracles. Mark learns to let go and finds that dreams can come true. Celia learns love again. This is a very sweet Christmas book and made me glad to visit the season.

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

Available in September 2012 at your local bookstore from Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Recommended for fans of Melody Carlson, Christmas stories, Thomas Kinkade, Cindy Woodsmall.

Rating - 4 stars

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Interview with Rhonda Gibson and a Giveaway

Rhonda Gibson is the author or co-author of several books including the Love Inspired Historical novel, Marshal's Promise, and the Romancing America Midwife's Legacy.

I "met" her when I'd read her book Marshal's Promise and I'd visited her website. I've also gotten to know her through Facebook and Twitter. I'm thrilled to be able to have her with me today for my first ever author interview!

So without further ado, here's Rhonda!

Dawn: Rhonda, thank you for joining us today. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Hi Dawn. I guess the first thing you should know about me is that I’m a wife, next May I will be married 30 years. I have two children and three grandchildren. I love to read and I love making beaded jewelry. I have a dog named Sheba and right now I have 7 outdoor cats. 

No I’m not a “cat woman” but someone thinks I’m really nice and left a mama cat who had babies, babies are pretty wild, mama has moved on and I’m still feeding the babies. LOL, one of those outdoors cats is my old cat Sunny and two of them are brand new Siamese kittens that I received for my birthday last month. I guess that is enough about me for now but feel free to ask me anything.

 Dawn: Congratulations on the 30 years. That is an accomplishment in this day and time. :) Seven cats? I only have the one, my sweet Kiki, and I love having her around. So tell me, how did you become a writer?

I’ve always loved telling stories and when I got old enough to write, I started writing :)

Dawn: Ok I'll admit that I discovered your books through Reader Service, and Marshal's Promise was the first one I read of yours. Since then I've also read Midwife's Legacy. Both of those books are very different. How did the idea for Marshal's Promise come about?

The Marshal’s Promise was originally called, Jesse’s Girl. My husband loves that Bruce Springsteen song. So he and I brainstormed and came up with the beginning of The Marshal’s Promise.   

Dawn: Well I certainly enjoyed it! In fact my copy is somewhat battered! Now tell me about Midwife’s Legacy. Was it easier or harder to write a story/novella with others as part of this book ? What went into the deciding factors of writing a generational story? Were you and the others given the topic – ie a family journal handed down among the generations – or did you collaborate to come up with that end?

This collection was very fun to write. My co-authors are wonderful ladies who are very easy to work with. I was invited into this collection by my agent. When I came into it, the basic idea of the journal and the fact it was a generational story were already decided. I was given the freedom to come up with my own story and I really wanted my heroine to travel the Oregon Trail. My co-authors agreed and away we went.

Dawn: I loved playing the computer game of Oregon Trail as a child, though I think my entire wagon train typically died before reaching Oregon. Watching the trail come alive through the eyes of your heroine was very fun. 

I have found several times when I've finished a book or even a movie, that I don't want to say goodbye to the characters. That could very well be one of the reasons I love Harry Potter fan fiction so much, I don't have to say goodbye to the characters. Is it ever hard for you to say goodbye to your characters?

Funny you should ask this, Dawn. I just finished, today, Hannah’s story. She’s Rebecca’s friend from The Marshal’s Promise. Saying goodbye to her and Daniel is hard. I came into my office a few minutes ago prepared to go back to Granite, Texas, the setting of her story. I’m hoping that they will be in my next story but that is up to the editor at this point.

Dawn: I'm looking forward to reading it! Since I know you are one of my followers here on my blog, you know I read pretty much everything, though I'd have say my personal favorite genre is that of historical fiction. Do you prefer to write in a historical setting or a contemporary one?  

I prefer historical. My books are steeped with history but I like to think they have that old, western feeling. 

Dawn: Both of the ones I've read have that feeling! 

I've read some books that have been really good, the author's drawn me in from the first. And I've read others that I've struggled to finish, or just didn't finish because I wasn't drawn into the story. What do you think makes a good book? 

Good characters and a touch of humor. I love books that when I am finished reading them, I feel like I know them and don’t want to say goodbye. I hope my readers have that feeling after every book.

Dawn: I know I felt that way after reading Marshal's Promise. It's probably why my copy is rather battered. I know of several authors whose books make me feel like I've made a great friend. There's even been times that I've been known to cry at the happy ending. :)

 I"m always wanting to know what authors have coming out soon? What do you have coming out soon that we can look forward to?

Groom By Arrangement is coming out in February 2013. It is Eliza Kelly’s story from The Marshal’s Promise.

Dawn: Sweet! I'll add it to my drop-everything-and-read-when-it comes-out list!

With all of this writing, what do you do for fun and to relax?
I read and I bead. Those two things are both relaxing and fun for me. My husband and I also enjoy geocaching. 

Dawn: One of my best friends enjoys going geocaching as well. 

I'm curious, who or what inspires you?
I don’t know that there is one person who encourages me to write more than any other. I have lots of friends and family who cheer me on. I’m thankful for each and every one of them. Even you have inspired me to keep writing because you have enjoyed my books. 

Dawn: Awww, thank you for the sweet words. I have enjoyed your books. Do you have a favorite book, tv show, song, movie, etc.?
How Fletcher Hatches An Egg is my favorite children’s book from when I was a child. Right now my favorite tv show is The Big Bang Theory, Favorite movie – Children’s Disney’s The Sword in the Stone, Adult While You Were Sleeping, My favorite colors are pink and blue, my favorite ice cream is chocolate and my favorite candies are M&M’s and Gummi Bears.  Did you notice I have a sweet tooth?

 Dawn: I love the Big Bang Theory! And yes you do seem to have quite the sweet tooth!

Since this is the time of year when the holidays are upon us, what is your favorite Christmas (or any holiday) memory? 

My husband proposed to me under my parents Christmas tree.   

Dawn: That's romantic! Engaged at Christmas and married in May! I'm sure there's a story to that proposal too.

I ask a similar question to this one at my skin care classes, only I ask about what makeup item the guests can't live without, so here's the more traditional question. If you were stranded on a desert island, and you could only have 3 things with you (items that will help you leave the island not included) what would you have with you?

My Bible, my toothbrush, and James (my husband)

Dawn: I like those choices!

Our time's almost up, so I have just one more question for you today, what advice do you have for others who want to write?

Don’t listen to Nay Sayers. They are the people who make fun of you because you write, the ones who tell you “you will never get published” and the ones who call your writing “a hobby.” Be true to yourself.

Dawn: Thank you so much for stopping by Rhonda! I've enjoyed getting to know you a bit more.

If you want to find out more about Rhonda's books, check out my reviews of Marshal's Promise and Midwife's Legacy.


I'm going to give away a copy of Marshal's Promise by Rhonda to one lucky commenter. No, I'm not giving away my battered copy. I will give away a copy of either the Kindle version or the mass market paperback, winner's choice. Either one will be shipped via Amazon (so you'll get sooner than the prizes I still need to mail out from the last few months. Sorry girls. They're going out TODAY!). To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment here. Gain a second entry, leave another comment telling me you follow my blog. You can gain additional entries for leaving comments on ANY of my book reviews. You can find the entire group here.  Comments on the reviews may be made daily for additional entries. At least one of your comments on this post must have your email address so that I can reach you. Use this form myname(dot)hotmail(dot)com

Ends on Friday night November 23. I'll pick a winner on Saturday morning.

As I will not be around most of the day today, I will respond to comments when I finally do get home. I'm pretty sure that if Rhonda's schedule allows her to, she'll respond as well. 

edited to add picture of the book cover.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Midwife's Legacy - A Review

Four women. Four generations. One journal ties them all together as they face the trials and tribulations of being a midwife, and they may just find unexpected loves in the midst of all of their work. Adele Marley is a busy widow, mother, midwife, and Wisconsin farmer to really notice the banker. Polly Schultz is trying to survive the dangers of the Oregon Trail and finds herself falling for the young preacher. Christiana is determined that women can have both families and careers and tries to convince one man of that fact. Modern woman, Kendra Silverstone, has had her confidence shaken and stumbles upon her ancestors' journal. Will it hold the answers she seeks?

I usually avoid the 4-1 collections, because I like my books to have more story to them. The good thing about novellas is that they are short and I can usually read them in one setting. That said, I did enjoy each story in this book. Some more than others.I think my favorite one was the one about Christiana. Each of the four women, Adele, Polly, Christiana, and Kendra, had to come to understand that they were doing exactly what God had called them to do. Their realizations came at different points. Yet they came. My biggest complaint with the book is that the stories weren't long enough for me to really sink into and enjoy. About the time that I'd grown attached to the characters, the story was over and we moved on.

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

Rating - 4 stars

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lovelier Than Daylight - A Review

On a visit to her sister, Susanna Hanby discovers that her sister has disappeared and her children with her. Susanna goes on to her uncle and aunt's home in Westerville, and enlists their help in finding the children. The Hanbys discover that the children have been placed in orphanages. When a saloon opens in Westerville, Susanna feels very strongly about the dangers of drinking and crosses paths with Johann Giere, a German brewer from Columbus. Despite the attraction she feels for him, her judgement is clouded because of his family's profession. As tensions rise in Westerville and the Hanby's determination to claim the children, both Johann and Susanna must work together and learn to put their differences aside.

This is the third and final book in the Saddler's Legacy Series. I'll admit it was hard to say goodbye to Will & Ann Hanby after following them through the other two books. While this one was not my favorite of the series, I still found it to be very good. Susanna's determination to reclaim the children that she loves was touching. Yet what made her seem more human was the fact that when she realized that her strong opinions could possibly have contributed to the destruction of a family's livelihood, she learned the value of holding her tongue and seeking the advise of her wise uncle and aunt. Johann recognized a choice he'd have to make. He prayed hard about both opportunities that presented itself, both which seemed to be of God, before he made a decision. He's a strong man with a strong faith. Hard topics such as temperance, abuse, and even to some extent prejudice are brought up in the book and dealt with beautifully.

I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson's Booksneeze program for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of historical fiction, Colleen Coble, Cathy Gohlke, Jody Hedlund, Julie Klassen

Rating - 4 stars

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Band of Sisters - A Review

Maureen O'Reilly flees Ireland to New York with her younger sister in tow. The girls hope that the family of a man their father saved the life of during the Civil War will honor the promise in the letter their father received over twenty years before. When Katie Rose is quarantined at Ellis Island and Maureen is free to go, she's determined to find the Wakefield family and seek their help. Yet Maureen learns that Colonel Wakefield has died and that his son-in-law refuses to help her out. She's on her own and must find employment or be deported. She obtains a job at a department store with forged references, but soon learns that the store is a facade for a dark secret. She's determined to uncover it especially in light of seeing girls disappear from the store. Olivia Wakefield is livid at her brother-in-law for refusing to help Maureen, and takes it on herself to find the girl. Olivia receives aid from a businessman who soon comes to mean more to her than just a friend even though he is keeping secrets as well. When Maureen and Olivia finally cross paths, Olivia enlists the help of influential women to help fight for the injustice of the poor immigrants. But as the secrets come to light, both Maureen and Olivia's lives could be in danger. But will either woman be able to fully trust the divine leading let alone a chance to fall in love?

This book has so many layers in it that it's hard to fully explain it. It's very different than Gohlke's Promise Me This. I'd have to say that this is one of the most thought provoking books I've read this year. Maureen was abused as a young teen and has a problem trusting men and God. Yet she finally figures out that there are people out there who love her the way that God loves her and she surrenders to that love. This book also takes the concept of what would Jesus do as introduced to the characters via the book In His Steps  by Charles Sheldon. The issue of white slavery  is also dealt with in this book. My only experience with seeing how the poor were treated in New York around the turn of the century come from my high school history classes and the lectures my teacher gave. But the issue of white slavery was never discussed. I've only heard recently of how white slavery is still going strong in parts of America today, and that scares me a little.

While I didn't love this book the way that I loved Promise Me This, I definitely enjoyed this book.

I read the Kindle version for pure pleasure. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Karen Kingsbury, Laura Frantz, Lynn Austin, Julie Lessman, drama, Francine Rivers, and Sarah Sundin.

Rating - 4 stars

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hello Hollywood - A Review

Athena Pappas is the head writer for the popular Stars Collide sitcom. When the producers bring in comedian Stephen Cosse to help boost the show's ratings, Athena feels threatened. Sparks fly immediately between Stephen and Athena, especially when her large Greek family is added into the mix. Will the two learn that it's better to write romances for their characters than their own lives?

I have read the others in the Backstage Pass series and loved them. This one was no exception. This is book 2, and having read book 3 before reading one and two, I was already prepared for the outcome of the happy ending. What made this book so entertaining was how the characters got to that happy ending.

I read the Kindle version for pure pleasure. Recommended to fans of romantic comedies, Denise Hunter, Jenny Jones, Sandra Bricker, Karen Witemeyer.

Rating - 4 stars

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Wreath of Snow - A Review

Meg Campbell is leaving Stirling on Christmas Eve to escape her family. Gordon Shaw is also leaving Stirling on the same train. When a snowbank forces the passengers to return to Stirling, Gordon hopes that he finally has a chance to make restitution to the family that he injured a dozen years before. He knows the connection between him and Meg, but she doesn't realize it. When she does, she's angry at him for not telling her and for the hurt he caused her family. Will Gordon find the forgiveness he longs for or will he forever be left out in the cold?

I've read all of Liz Curtis Higgs' books and I have loved each and every one. While this particular one wasn't my all time favorite, that belongs to Mine Is the Night, I did enjoy this book. Both Meg and Gordon long for forgiveness and peace from the same incident. As they each figure out how beautiful forgiveness really is, they learn that carrying such a heavy burden is not the way to happiness. I do wish that the ending wasn't quite as abrupt, but perhaps there will be a sequel that will continue Meg and Gordon's story.

I received the Kindle edition for free from the publisher, Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Christmas stories, Victorian stories, Julie Lessman fans, Karen Kingsbury fans.

Rating 4 stars

Friday, November 2, 2012

Coming up in November

Happy November! I love all of the fall decorations and all of the baking and things associated with fall and Thanksgiving. Of course my favorite season is Spring, but Fall's a close second.

I've got a lot planned for this month. I'm planning on getting really busy on my Christmas gifts. I've already gotten part of my Mom's present. And most of my best friend's. Of course there are still several more I need to get or to make. Including figuring out what soup mixtures to make to give my friends.

I'll be hosting my first ever author interview around the middle of the month. I'm excited about it. Rhonda Gibson will be joining me and we're going to have a nice chat. I hope everyone will stop by and chat with Rhonda.

My monthly giveaway is planned with four of the Love Inspired Historicals.

Now for what I'm planning on reading (sorry no pictures tonight. Didn't want to take the time to find them). It's a slow month for me with one of the publishers so I can catch up on some of my other reviews.

All of these are for reviewing.

Two Christmas novellas -

Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs

Christmas Roses by Amanda Cabot

Other fiction books on my list -

Lovelier Than Daylight by Rosslyn Elliot

Deposit Slip by Todd Johnson (finally getting to this)

Whispers in the Wind by Lauraine Snelling

And to read for fun.

Light in the Window - Julie Lessman

Widow of Saunders Creek by Tracey Bateman

Band of Sisters by Cathy Gohlke

For some reason, there are more books on my Kindle to read this month than paper copies.

Let me tell you about some of the Christmas gifts I'm working on. My best friend just had her second baby, so I'm working on Abi's baby blanket. I've got one that I hope to finish for my cousin's daughter she adopted last year. There's a scrapbook I'm working on. So between scrapbooking, crocheting, and the very special project for my mom, I'm going to be spending evenings being very crafty!