Sunday, October 27, 2013

Rules of Murder - A Review

Drew Farthering arrives home to find his mother hosting a party. While he is socializing with the guests, including the beautiful American niece of his stepfather, a murder occurs. Drew considers himself to be an amateur detective. But when a second murder happens, all of a sudden no one is above suspicion. Will Drew figure out who is behind the murders or  will he be next?

I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading this. It's has a similar feel to Agatha Christie mysteries. I found the banter between Drew and Madeline to be enchanting. And Drew's friend Nick made me laugh several times. I really had no clue who the killer was, and that's a good thing. I did feel that the ending was a bit rushed, but overall this is a really fun book. It's quick and easy to read.  This was the first book I've ever read by this author and I look forward to reading more by her.

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

Recommended to fans of Agatha Christie, cozy mysteries, Mary Higgins Clark

Rating - 4.5 stars, so it'll be 4 stars on Amazon.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Perfectly Matched - A Review

Anna Olsen decides to follow in the footsteps of both of her sisters and become a mail-order bride. She answers the advertisement of a man in Denver, Edward Parker. Anna and Edward are as different as night and day. He likes things done perfectly and on a precise schedule. She's impulsive, prone to daydream, and has a heart for animals. On their wedding day, Edward even gives Anna a list of chores he expects her to do on a daily basis. Can these two people who are so different find love and happiness with each other?

This is the third and final book in the Blue Willow Brides series. I've enjoyed each and every one of the books, but I think that Anna's story is my favorite. Anna's tender heart shows through in how she adopts stray dogs and cats and hopes Edward will go along with it. Edward really doesn't know what to think of Anna - or her animals. I have to give him credit. He does change and grow through the book. He learns that things don't have to be perfect. I loved the way that they managed to find their footing in their marriage. I also loved the way that Anna set about starting an SPCA society in Denver. True this is the third book in a series, but it stands alone. Each book can be enjoyed without having read the others in the series.

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

Recommended to fans of mail order bride stories, Tracie Peterson, Mary Connealy, Karen Witemeyer, and historical fiction.

Rating - 4 stars. It's really a 4.5 star book.

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

Monday, October 14, 2013

My Hope Is Found - A Review

Lonnie Sawyer has just reached the point where she can move on. Or at least she hopes to. The man she loves, the father of her son, has a new life and she wants him to be happy. But she can't write Gideon out of her heart very easily. Even with the attention of handsome young preacher Toby McKee. Hoping to put her past behind her, she accepts Toby's proposal. For Gideon's part, though he is married to another, his heart yearns for the soft-spoken woman who stole his heart. When God in His mercy offers Gideon a chance to go home, he takes it - with Cassie's blessing. Yet he's unprepared for what lies in store for him. Will Gideon find his faith strengthened or shattered? Will he learn that "letting go can be a harder way to love than holding on?" Who will Lonnie choose?

Sighs. I loved this book. I first met Gideon & Lonnie in Be Still My Soul. Their story made me cry. It made my heart ache for this couple. And just when I thought that they had a chance of happily-ever-after, their world was shaken deeply in Though My Heart Is Torn. I really wanted to hate Cassie in that book. But, I found I couldn't. So needless to say, when I found out that the author was looking for people to help promote the third book in this series, I was thrilled to be a part of her team. I've been asked not to give away secrets, and I'll try not to divulge any.

While I've had this book since sometime in August, and have actually had it finished since sometime in September, I decided to wait and write my review closer to the book's release date, which is Tuesday October 15, 2013.

Yes this book made me cry. It's a breath-taking conclusion to the story that began in Be Still My Soul. I've been privileged to watch Lonnie and Gideon grow in their faith. I wanted them to be together someway, somehow. Yet the depth of the other characters, Toby, Cassie, Elsie, Jeremiah, only made me love this series more. I can't hate Lonnie for accepting Toby's proposal. She needed to move on with her life. Yet I can't help feeling hurt too. Not that she had to move on, but that my happily-ever-after was in danger. I have to say that each of the major characters - Lonnie, Gideon, Toby, and Cassie all had to learn the hard lesson that Gideon discovers early in the story. It's that letting go is a harder way to love than holding on. Each character had to come to the point where they let go of their own wants and truly surrendered their hearts.

This type of book is what I loved about the classic Karen Kingsbury books, the Francine Rivers books, and oh so many others. If you haven't yet gotten a copy of books one and two in the Cadence of Grace series, run to your nearest bookstore, online store, library, or somewhere to pick up copies. Then go out an purchase this conclusion. It is That good! This is one series of books that I will keep to revisit over and over.

I received an advance paperback copy for free from the author for the purpose of reviewing and promoting. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Karen Kingsbury, Francine Rivers, Laura Frantz, Catherine Marshall's Christy, historical fiction, drama

Rating - 5 stars

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Giveaway - Rebellious Heart

I know it's been a while since I did a giveaway. I still haven't mailed the book to my winner of my last giveaway.

But today, I've got a copy of Jody Hedlund's newest book, Rebellious Heart to give away.

I haven't written my review yet (I'm behind on writing my reviews), but let's just say that I loved the book.

Just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter form below to enter.

Reminder - all comments will need be on this post, the giveaway post, and not on the Rafflecopter form.

I can only ship US. Starts today, 10-13-13 and will end on 10-20-13. (I think the time is midnight Central Time.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Under a Blackberry Moon - A Review

Moon Song is a young Chippewa widow who days after giving birth finds her way into a lumber camp. She spends the winter there and makes friends with Isaac Ross, known as Skypilot. When the summer arrives, the owner of the camp understands that for her own protection, Moon Song and her baby son need to be sent back to her people. Skypilot is asked to accompany her. While on the journey North, tragedy strikes and what was supposed to be a simple journey is now wrought with peril. As they travel together, both realize they have come to love the other. But there are obstacles in their way. Will she be forced to give up her world to live in his? Or will he give up his world to live in hers? Will they ever share the same faith?

Wow! That's really all I can say about this book. It started off rather slow, but things picked up when the tragedy struck Moon Song and Skypilot. The scenery in this book is truly breathtaking. And the way that the author has captured both of their struggles had me hoping that some way some how, the two would end up together.

Skypilot showed a strength in character that I've not seen a lot in the heroes of the books. He was determined to live his faith out. And to do all he could to obtain the trust of Moon Song's people. Moon Song for her part showed me a way of life I'm really not familiar with. The way that she went out of her way to ensure that her companions were able to survive showed the depth of her character as well.

There were many times while reading this book that I was reminded of a classic from my childhood, Island of the Blue Dolphins. I also was reminded at times of Jeanette Oke's book Drums of Change. It's been a long time since I've read either of those, but I was able to remember the struggles for survival that occurred in both books.

I really wasn't expecting to like this book the way that I did. Typically when a book starts off slow, I find myself having a hard time getting into it.

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

Recommended to fans of Laura Frantz, Joanne Bischof, Jody Hedlund, historical fiction

Rating - 5 stars - It truly wowed me.
Available in October, 2013 from Revell Books a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fired Up - A Review

Dare Riker moved to the small Texas town to help friend Luke Stone reclaim his family's ranch. Dare insists that he's not a doctor, but he's the closest thing to a doctor that is around. When he first met Glynna Greer, he'd been called out to the ranch where he discovered that her now late husband had beat her. Glynna wants a new life for herself and her two children. She'd come to Texas hoping to start over as a mail-order bride. She didn't expect that the man she'd married, Flint Greer, to be abusive or to be a scoundrel in general. When she becomes a widow again, Dare and his friends pack her and the children up and move them to town. Glynna insists that she's able to stand on her own two feet and opens a cafe. Sure business may be booming because every man in town wants to catch a glimpse of her beautiful face. But her lack of cooking skills also helps grow Dare's medical practice. As Dare tries to protect her from the person intent on harming him and anyone who is close to him, he finds himself falling for the beautiful widow. Will she feel the same?

I enjoyed this book much more than the first book, Swept Away. I liked Dare when I met him in the first book and seeing him in this one, I couldn't help but laugh. His insistence that he's not a doctor was hilarious. He's determined to be a rancher not a doctor, yet he is constantly being drawn to the hurt and the suffering.

For some reason, and I'm not sure why exactly, I enjoyed this book way more than the first. If I could change the star rating for the first book, I would. But I won't do that to the author.

Anyway, the characters in this book are much more lively and entertaining than in the first one. They're more developed and even though the reader only sees glimpses of Luke & Ruthy, they also have more depth to them. I'm hoping that the next book picks up with either Jonas or Vince.

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 Mary Connealy, romantic comedy, Karen Witemeyer, Jody Hedlund

Rating - 4 stars - yes this is a solid 4 star book.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fifteen Minutes - A Review

Zack Dylan can sing and sing well. When he seizes an opportunity to audition for the hit show, Fifteen Minutes, he takes it. He is determined that he can win and save his family's horse farm. Despite misgivings from those who love him - his family and girlfriend - they do offer him their support. Zack is determined to live out his Christian faith in front of the cameras. But when the producers keep trying to push him towards another contestant and to silence his outspokenness of his faith, will he let it happen? Will a taste of fame cause him to lose sight of who he is?

What can I say about this book? True to classic Karen Kingsbury style, she has written a story that will engross her readers. But like her last several books, this one also deals with fame and fortune. I miss the days when she would write stories that had me in tears. Stories that changed lives. I'm not saying that for some people that this book may be life-changing. I'm saying that for me, the story seemed the same as several of her other books. Just change the names and the settings.

Things I liked about this book -
1. The realness of Chandra, one of the judges.
2. Seeing one of the other judges, Kelly, realize the direction her life was taking.
3. Reese - Zack's girlfriend.

Things I didn't like about this book -
1. That Zack found the little things ok to compromise on. For me it made him seem like he was conforming.
2. The entire storyline of seeking fame. Yeah that didn't sit well with me. It seems that she's been so focused in her last several books in talking about the Hollywood lifestyle that I feel she's lost a connection with her readers.
3. I'm not a fan of the singing shows, so I don't know if this really happens or not. But I found that the scenes set on the show were harsh to the contestants and to the readers. It was like the judges/producers didn't care that they'd just crushed someone's dreams.

I had little to no expectations for this book when I started it. So in that aspect, I wasn't disappointed. But I was disappointed in the fact that this book didn't feel as deep as her others. It felt very much like a formula. I'm sure that there will be readers who love this book and it will be the best one they've ever read. I'm not one of them. I'm sorry.

As a longtime fan of Karen's, I'm sorry, but I'm done. I'll reread the ones of hers I've loved over the years, but I will not read her new releases anymore.

I received the Kindle version of this book for free from Howard Books via NetGalley for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own. I was not required to like the book or to write a positive review, just to give my honest opinion.

Recommended to (I don't have a problem recommending Karen's books) fans of contemporary fiction, Karen Kingsbury, Katie Ganshert, JoAnne Bischof

Rating - 2 stars. I debated about this a lot. I went back and forth in my head. It's not a 3 star. It's more of a 2.5 star.