Tuesday, April 30, 2013

It Happened at the Fair - A Review

1893. The Chicago World's Fair. For inventor Cullen McNamara, a farmer who is extremely allergic to various pollens, the fair is a chance to sell his automatic sprinkler system. He's got a great product. He knows it works. There's just one problem. He has trouble hearing in one ear and the noise level in Machinery Hall makes it almost impossible to understand his potential clients. In desperation, he enlists the help of Della Wentworth, a lip reading instructor who is at the fair with her students as part of an exhibition. Neither one thought that the lessons would truly help Cullen gain sales. They also never suspected they'd fall for each other. Will the two find a way to be together in the wake of disaster and surprises from Cullen's life?

I've read quite a few books this year about the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. And the Fair comes more to life with each book. I enjoyed this book. I loved seeing how determined that Cullen was to sell and promote his sprinkler system. I also loved that Della was passionate about teaching both lip reading and sign language. I'd never known that there was a huge debate over the way that the deaf communicate. The book is filled with humor and the characters are well developed. While I wouldn't go so far to say it's my favorite book by DeeAnne Gist, it was still a good read and an enjoyable book.

I can honestly say that after reading this book, I headed over to the Internet and Google and Wikipedia to look up World's Fairs. And I also read quite a lot of information about the 1893 Fair in Chicago as well as others I'd read about/seen (1904 St Louis for which I saw the movie Meet Me in St. Louis and 1984 New Orleans which I saw in person ). It's not often that a book will send me off on a quest for additional information/research, so well done on this one.

I received a Kindle version of the book from Howard Books via NetGalley for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of DeeAnne Gist, Julie Lessman, Olivia Newport, Karen Witemeyer, and romance.

Rating - 4 stars

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Wishing on Willows - A Review

Widow Robin Price is struggling. She's the owner and manager of the Willow Tree Cafe and is trying to be a single mom to her 3 year old son. When developer Ian McKay comes to town with a plan to build condos where her cafe stands, Robin's ready to fight him tooth and nail. She feels that the condos don't have to be built where her cafe and a vital town ministry stand. Ian feels that the location of the cafe is actually perfect for the condos. On opposite sides, both of these two face what appears to be an insurmountable canyon of differences. But God uses little things, a piano, a little boy, among some, to get their attention. Will they realize that God gives second chances even to those who don't think that they can move forward?

When I was pleasantly surprised by the first book in this series, Wildflowers from Winter, I knew I had to read Robin's story. She had been through so much that I wanted her to have hope again. I knew I'd love this book from the first few pages into it. And I wasn't disappointed. Every once in a while I will find an author whose second or third book in the series is even better than the first. That's the case for me with this one. While it's a story of second chances, it's not the over the top romance that one might expect from a love story. The romance really takes a back burner to the story. I loved the short chapters that gave glimpses into Robin's past. I felt Robin's heartache. I felt Ian's compassion. I felt for Amanda's uncertainty.This book has, at times, an almost nostalgic feel to it. But I didn't find it slow moving or anything like that. I look forward to anything else that Katie writes as I will quickly find a way to get a copy.

I received this book for free from Waterbrook/Multnomah's Blogging for Books program for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommend to fans of Karen Kingsbury, Beth Wiseman, Becky Wade, Robyn Carr, Susan May Warren, Beth K. Vogt, and contemporary fiction.

Rating - 5 stars

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I love to hear from my readers. Feel free to leave me a comment telling me if you like it, hate it, or to just say hi!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Noble Groom Winner

Thank each of you for entering my first ever rafflecopter giveaway.

The winner is Wendy N....

I have notified the winner and she has until Saturday to get back with me with her mailing address or I will pick another winner.

FYI - my Girl in the Glass Winner, Patty, I still have the book and haven't had time to make it to the post office. That will happen on Saturday morning.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Noble Groom - A Review

Annalisa Werner loves to tell her daughter fairy tales with a happily ever after. She's long given up on her own fairy tale. When her cruel husband dies, she's relieved, but still has no idea how she will save her farm. Her father has a solution - he will write relatives in the Old Country for a groom for Annalisa. Carl Richards flees his native Germany a wanted man. Arriving on doorstep of Annalisa's father's farm, everyone thinks that he is the groom sent for Annalisa. As he explains that he was sent to help out until her real groom arrives, he starts to truly understand the lives of the peasants. He's hiding his true identity, that of the baron's son. Annalisa is drawn to Carl's gentleness with her and her daughters. She soon finds herself in love with him. Is he the prince in her very own fairy tale? And what happens when her long awaited groom suddenly makes an appearance?

I absolutely loved this book. Of course I felt that I spent more time with the book closed because the cover model is so dreamy! I really think that this is the best book Jody Hedlund's written to date. I loved how Carl had to overcome his own pride in seeing himself better than the "peasants." When he realized that he wasn't any different than they, he had a breakthrough. Annalisa also had to learn that while she can still respect her father and the men in her life, she didn't need them to tell her what to do and when to do it. She grew from a timid flower into a beautiful strong rose. This book put a different spin on the "mail order bride" that is a popular trend in fiction right now. Over the past two years, having read everything that Jody Hedlund has written, I have found myself adding her books to my "must read and find a way to buy list" as she has quickly become one of my favorite authors.

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

Check out her other books and her blog here on her website.

Recommended to fans of historical fiction, Julie Lessman, Laura Frantz, Lori Wick, Karen Witemeyer, Siri Mitchell

Rating - 5 stars

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Love at Any Cost - A Review

Cassidy McClare leaves her family's Texas ranch for a visit with her cousins in San Francisco to recover from her broken heart. She's done with men. Especially "pretty boy fortune hunters." Jamie McKenna is a poor young man who has worked hard to pull himself and his family up from the slums of the city. He's best friends with Cassie's cousin Blake. When the two meet, sparks fly. Cassie doesn't know that Jamie wants to marry an heiress. She just knows that she's fallen for the "pretty boy pole-cat." Jamie doesn't know that Cassie's not an oil heiress. When he finds out, will he break Cassie's heart or decide that love is more important than money?

I was so sad to see the O'Connor saga come to an end because I'd grown to love that family. With Julie Lessman's newest book, the reader is introduced to a new family, the McClares. The first pages had me laughing and before I knew it, Jamie McKenna had slipped into my favorite hero spot of Julie's books that had been held by Stephen O'Connor and Collin McGuire. Feisty and fun, I loved this book. I loved the fact that Cassie set rules for her courtship with Jamie and that Jamie actually followed them. The moment that Jamie realized that everything he had worked for really wasn't done on his own, but from God and seeing Jamie's surrender was very touching. I am eagerly waiting for the next book in this series.

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

Recommended to fans of Julie Lessman, Colleen Coble, Mary Connealy, Laura Frantz, Karen Witemeyer, Jody Hedlund, and historical fiction.

Available April 2013 at your local bookstore from Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Rating - 5 stars

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Noble Groom Giveaway

This month I'm going to give away a copy of Jody Hedlund's newest book, A Noble Groom.

Isn't the model on the cover just dreamy? I have found myself drooling over the cover several times because the model's just too cute!

I love the promotional cover Bethany House did for this one.

I'm currently still reading the copy I received from the author for free, but I'm enjoying it so much that I bought myself a copy so I could give away the one she sent me!

As part of Jody's promotional team, she has encouraged us to really talk up the book. I know quite a few other people are saying that this is her best book yet, and I'm finding myself agreeing with them.

Now to the giveaway.... I'm using Rafflecopter for this one.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Josiah's Treasure - A Review

Sarah Whittier is an aspiring young artist who has been blessed with an inheritance from a man who took her in and loved her like a daughter. She dreams of helping poor immigrant women make their way in the world in a career that isn't working in a factory or on the streets. Daniel Cady arrives in San Fransisco to find the father that abandoned him and his sisters years before. He doesn't realize that his father has died and left all he had to Sarah. As he gets to know Sarah, his thirst for revenge and justice fade away and he finds himself captivated by the young woman with the big heart. When a rumor surfaces of gold in the house, Sarah is in danger and Daniel will do all he can to protect her. Will the pair discover what the true treasure is?

This is the first book I've read by Nancy Herriman. It started off slow and I was easily distracted from it. But as I persisted in reading it, I soon became caught up in the drama between Sarah and Daniel. I found that both of these two were extremely stubborn and passionate. Watching how they grew and changed throughout the book showed that the characters had depth to them. I'm pretty sure that I have some of the other books this author has written on my to-be-read list, and those books will be moving up the list!

I received the Kindle version of this book for free from Worthy Publishing via NetGalley for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of historical fiction, Julie Lessman, DeeAnne Gist, Rita Gerlach, Kathleen Morgan
Rating - 4 stars

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Truth Stained Lies - A Review

Cathy Cramer is a former lawyer and an investigative blogger who has frequently convicted people in her blog by drawing conclusions. A note left on the windshield of her car warns her that she will experience the same sort of judgement that she dishes out on her blog. She thinks it's a joke until she gets word that her sister-in-law has been murdered and her brother is the prime suspect. Cathy and her sisters know their brother is innocent. They just have to prove it. With the police feeling that they've caught the killer, Cathy and her sisters team up with private investigator Michael Hogan to get to the truth. But time is running out. Especially once Cathy's nephew has been poisoned and is then kidnapped from his hospital room. Will they find the true killer and enough evidence that the police will believe them?

It has been a while since I last read a Terri Blackstock book, and I was pleased to see this one available to review. A start of a new series, this book kept me interested from the first page to the last. I loved how the sisters interacted with each other and how they each had to come to terms with the actions of their preacher father. I am looking forward to reading the next books in this series.

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

Recommended to fans of DiAnn Mills, Brandilyn Collins, Lynette Eason, Irene Hannon, Dani Pettrey

Rating - 4  stars

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Take a Chance on Me - A Review

About the Author
Susan May Warren is the RITA Award winning author of more than thirty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. She served with her husband and four children as a missionary in Russia for eight years before she and her family returned home to the States. She now writes full time as her husband runs a lodge on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, where many of her books are set. She and her family enjoy hiking,canoeing, and being involved in their local church.Susan holds a BA in mass communications from the University of Minnesota. Several of her critically acclaimed novels have been chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times and won the RWA's Inspirational Reader's Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. Four of her books have been Christy Award finalists. In addition to her writing, Susan loves to teach and speak at women's events about God's amazing grace inour lives.

About the Book

Ivy Madison is the new county attorney in the small town of Deep Haven. She didn't know when she took the job that she drafted the plea bargain that has kept Jensen Atwood serving time of community service for killing the wife of Darek Christiansen. Darek is the town's most ineligible eligible bachelor. He's the eldest son and heir whose family runs the Evergreen Resort. He's a devoted father, but he's also hurt and angry over the death of his wife. As Ivy gets to know both Darek and his family, she finds herself wanting to belong to it. Will Darek be able to let go of his anger and hurt for a chance at a future with Ivy?

Here is a part of the Q&A from Tyndale with the Author.

1. This is the first installment in a brand new six-book series. Can you give us a bit of background on this
I love stories about families –watching the members interact and grow together through challenges and victories and I conceived this series as I watched my own children begin to grow up and deal with romance and career and futures. I love Deep Haven, and it’s the perfect setting for a resort, so I crafted a family, much like the families I know, who run a resort. They want to pass on their legacy to their children...but their children don’t know if they want it. It’s sort of a parallel theme to the legacy of faith we instill in our children. As they grow older, they need to decide whether it is their faith too. It’s a saga about family and faith and what happens when those collide with real life.
2. This Christiansen Family series is set in Deep Haven, Minnesota. Tell us about this setting.
Deep Haven, Minnesota is based in a small vacation town in northern Minnesota where I spent
my childhood. It’s located on Lake Superior, surrounded by pine and birch and the sense of small
town and home. Populated by everyone from artists to lumberjacks, it’s Mitford, or perhaps
Northern Exposure gone Minnesotan. Quaint, quirky and beautiful, it’s the perfect place to
escape for a vacation
3. What was your inspiration for this particular book and the main character Darek
As I started to put together this series, I began to think about our culture and our children today.
I started to take a look at the big questions we are faced with as parents and as young people; the issues that affect us as a culture, as well as personally. I wanted these books to go beyond family drama, beyond a great romance to raise bigger questions and stir truths that we might pass along to others. This story is about our propensity in our culture to blame others for what goes wrong in our lives – and how this alienates us from each other, and ultimately, God. Darek is the oldest brother in the family; the leader and a real hero. He’s a wild
land firefighter and a widower who’s had to give up his job to come home and run the resort and care for his young son. Darek doesn’t realize he has a problem - he lives with anger on his shoulder, hating the man who killed his wife (his best friend). His real problem is that he can’t forgive himself. In this first story, readers meet the family, hang out at the resort and discover that God can redeem even a heart of stone, if we take a chance on Him.

Chapter 1 Excerpt 

My Review
It has been a long time since I read one of Susan's books. I really enjoyed this one. The fact this is the first book in a new series is a great bonus. I found the four major characters, Darek, Ivy, Jensen, and Claire to be very real. Each of them needed something, forgiveness really. They each had to learn how to forgive and be forgiven. I am looking forward to reading the next books in this series. It was also fun to reunite with characters from the town of Deep Haven, most of whom I'd forgotten about.

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

Recommended to fans of Susan May Warren, Dani Pettrey, Candace Calvert, Colleen Coble, Denise Hunter, Rachel Hauck 

Rating - 4 stars


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Judge - A Review

Kien Lantec, military judge advocate for the Tracelands, never expected his Creator to send him on a mission to warn the people of TorrenSea of their impending destruction. He's frustrated since the Infinite's plans don't match what he wants to do. Grumbling that this is the job of a true prophet, Kien goes to see the love of his life, Ela, Prophet of Parne. Only she's been stricken with a vision of her homeland having been corrupted by evil. The two must part. He to follow the Infinite's orders and she to deliver her message to the land of her birth. Will they be reunited?

The second book in the Books of the Infinite series picks up shortly where the first one leaves off. Once again Old Testament stories are very much apparent as Kien and Ela follow the Infinite's will for their lives. My favorite character is still Pet/Scythe, the destroyer that will protect Ela. While this book didn't quite hold my attention like Prophet did, I was still enthralled with the story. I am still eagerly waiting for book 3, King, to be released later this year.

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 Christian fantasy, Anne Elisabeth Stengl, the Chronicles of Narnia, Bryan Davis, and Lord of the Rings.

Rating - 4 stars