Monday, June 30, 2014

The Turning - A Review & Giveaway

Publisher - River North

Author - Davis Bunn

Title - The Turning

Format - ebook, paper

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When five strangers find themselves drawn together without really knowing why, they watch out a window as a message of "Hope is dead" is broadcast across New York's Times Square. These five soon realize why they were brought together. Together, this group of believers formulate a strategy that takes them up against one of the corporate giants in America. Will they be successful in presenting a message of hope?

This book reminded me a lot of a series I read years ago. I can't even remember the name of the series or the author, but the way that this was written reminded me of it.

To be honest, I wasn't too interested in the book as it started. I didn't know how the threads were going to be connected or fleshed out. Yet I hung in there. I enjoyed watching the way each of the five started to use gifts they had been given and to trust God to do the rest. Short chapters made this book a true page turner.

I loved how they fought to present a message of hope being alive and well. I found that to be one of the best themes of the book.

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

Recommended to fans of Frank Peretti's Prophet, The Shack, contemporary fiction

Rating - 3.5 stars. I enjoyed it, I just wasn't too interested in it til late in the story.


The publisher has graciously provided me a copy of the book to give away.

Please follow the instructions in the form below. I can only ship US.

All comments must be on the actual blog post and not on the form.

Answer this question: What message of hope would you give?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Stuck Together - A Review

Published - June 2014, Bethany House Publishers

Series - Trouble in Texas book 3

Author - Mary Connealy

Title - Stuck Together

Tina Cahill is on a mission - turn Broken Wheel into a dry town. Yet her cause seems to be falling on deaf ears as the cowboys seem to see her as a pretty distraction. Speaking of distractions, Vince Yates is certainly one for her. Tina doesn't know what she's done to make him annoyed with her, but she'd like to figure it out. Vince Yates is a lawyer with few clients. He came to Broken Wheel along with the rest of his Regulator friends when Luke Stone needed them. He's finally looking forward to some peace and quiet in this small town. Yet the spunky Tina Cahill finds all sorts of ways to interrupt his peaceful existence. And she's not the only one. His father arrives in town with Vince's mother and a sister he never knew he had. Suddenly Vince has more than he can handle. A sister who is falling for one of his best friends. A mother who needs constant supervision. A criminal to track. And then there's Tina. As almost the only single people left in town, they end up being stuck together more often than not. Will Vince and Tina figure out the benefits of being stuck together?

Some books open with a pretty description of a scenic place. Others open with dynamic dialogue. Not this one. This is the first one I've read that opens with a mud fight. A down and out fist flying, mud throwing, mud fight. And that set the tone for the rest of the book.

I really do think that this one is my favorite of the series. I loved the interactions between Tina and Vince. I also loved catching up with the rest of the Regulators.

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 historical fiction, comedies, westerns, Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy

Rating - 4.5 stars

Friday, June 20, 2014

I've been nominated

This is fun and exciting news! My blog has been nominated on the Book Club Network for the June Blog of the month! That's exciting!

Should I win the voting, I will be interviewed in the Book Fun Magazine (the current issue is on the side bar to the right).

I'm not sure if you have to be a member or not to vote, but here is the link to the Book Club Network to vote.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Blind Trust - A Review

Published - June, 2014 by Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Series - Port Aster Secrets Book 2

Author - Sandra Orchard

Title - Blind Trust

Format - ebook, paper

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Kate Adams would like nothing better than to live a peaceful life immersed in her research and the budding relationship with Detective Tom Parker after the past few months of trying to solve the murder of her friend. Yet, trouble has a way of finding Kate. This time it's counterfeit bills that she accidentally uses to purchase groceries for her elderly neighbor. As the case to find the counterfeiters unfolds, Kate soon finds herself in the midst of another police investigation that soon turns deadly. Long held secrets are revealed as Kate and Tom race to find this new threat to Kate.

I enjoyed reading the first book in the series when I was able to review it. This one was just as much of a page turner. The story moves along quickly and the characters had a bit more depth to them this time.

I still love Tom. I love how he strives to have Kate's best interests in heart. I do think that those two need to sit down and have a good conversation, but their relationship is progressing nicely. I look forward to seeing how it progresses through the series.

This was a pretty fast read for me. While by no means is it my favorite one, it was still good. It'd make a perfect read for a lazy summer day or the beach.

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

Recommended to fans of Irene Hannon, Love Inspired Suspense, Lynette Eason, romantic suspense.

Rating - 4 stars

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Just 18 Summers - A Review

Published - March, 2014, Tyndale House Publishers

Author - Rene Gutteridge & Michelle Cox

Title - Just 18 Summers

Format - ebook, paper

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The death of Jenny Browning affected all those who knew her. As her husband and friends try to navigate the summer without her, they discover that Jenny's wisdom and her zest for life covered so many things. Butch is struggling to get used to this new normal of just himself and his young daughter. Beth and Larry are facing the changes of children growing up and leaving the nest. Charles and Helen are trying to figure out why their perfect family isn't so perfect. Tippy and Daphne are looking forward to the birth of their first child and are reading up on all things pregnancy related. Each of these people realize that Jenny's life touched them in ways that they never before thought about.

I wasn't too sure what to expect from this book as I'd passed it over for another title when it was offered to review. Yet I found myself drawn into the story very quickly. The book is told from the points of view of Butch, Beth, Larry, Helen, Charles, Tippy, and Daphne. And while they struggle to make sense of the world without Jenny, they each have to realize what is important. And they each realize that the ways in which they raise their children will have lasting impacts on the children.

This is a book I'd recommend to any parent. I'd recommend it to people who enjoy contemporary fiction as well. There are so many good truths in this book. But it all boils down to this - parents have just eighteen summers to mold and shape their children into responsible adults.

I read this book for pure pleasure as part of the Tyndale Summer Reading Program. Thanks to the Kindle feature that allows readers to loan Kindle books as I received this book as a loan from a friend. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Rating - 4 stars

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books I've read so far this year

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly theme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

So last week, I did the top ten books on my summer reading list, which is actually this week's topic. So today, I'm doing the one I was supposed to do last week - Top Ten Books I've read so far this year.

That was a really hard topic for me as I've read so many wonderful ones this year. So here they are in no particular order.

1. The Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers - probably the BEST book I've read so far this year.

2. Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke - So rich in history and heart wrenching

3. Here to Stay by Melissa Tagg - another delightful comedy and I really fell for Blake "Blaze"

4. The Pelican Bride by Beth White - A moving historical novel set in Early America

5. Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade - I loved this book. Ty and Celia and little Addie were so fun to read about. 

6. A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert - another wonderful book by Katie.

7. In the Shadow of Jezebel by Mesu Andrews - I'm not one who usually reads and enjoys Biblical Fiction, yet this is one book that tugged at my heart.

8.  Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck - I love this series. Seriously I love it. 

9. Worth the Wait by Laura Jackson - Laura's a friend of mine. And I was delighted to read her debut novel back in February. 

10. Dare to Love Again by Julie Lessman - Filled with characters that are spunky and delightful, I know that a Julie Lessman book will always delight me. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

May Bride - A Review

Published - April, 2014, Zondervan

Series - A Year of Weddings Novella

Author - Meg Moseley

Title - A May Bride

Format - ebook

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Ellie Martin has been planning her wedding for years. She's even got a wedding fund. Only thing she's missing is the groom. When she meets Graham Whitby one morning while gardening at a church, she thinks he's handsome. He starts to pursue her. Before long, they are in love. But with an overbearing mother in her family, will they find happily ever after?

Of all of the novellas in the Year of Weddings Series I've read so far, this one is by far my least favorite. Maybe it's because it's told in first person narration and the others aren't. I normally don't have a problem with first person narratives. But for some reason, this one kinda grated on me.

I really didn't care for Ellie much at all. It seemed that she was determined to do everything that her mother didn't like and the scenes between them were filled with tension. I thought that Gray was smooth talking and moving way too fast.

Still, the wedding scenes were beautiful and the pastor was a surprise delight.

And while I didn't particularly care for the novella, others may find it delightful, especially if reading this series.

I received this novella for free from the Booklook Bloggers Program for the purpose of reviewing. I was not required to like the book, only give my honest opinion. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of weddings, Love Inspired, novellas

Rating - 2 stars - I didn't really care for it.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

It Had to Be You - A Review

Published - January, 2014 Tyndale House Publishers
Series - Christiansens book 2
Author - Susan May Warren
Title - It Had to Be You

Format - ebook, paper

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Eden Christiansen has spent years getting her younger brother Owen out of scrapes. When Owen is drafted into the NHL and begins to really live the lifestyle of a person who suddenly has lots of wealth, Eden doesn't know how she will keep him grounded. Her job at the paper isn't very exciting as she's writing obituaries and longs to be a real journalist. She keeps encountering Jace Jacobson, Owen's team captain, and the pair soon finds themselves bickering. When Owen is critically injured during a game, Eden and Jace spend time waiting on news at the hospital. There she discovers what has the potential to be a career breaking story, and having started to see a different side of Jace, enlists his help in the pursuit of the story. Yet the closer she gets to Jace, the more that she questions her own intentions. Will they figure out answers to their questions?

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the chemistry between Jace and Eden. I also loved the tidbits of truth from both John and Ingrid. I thought that Eden did need to learn to let go of her brother and give him a chance to make his own mistakes. I'm looking forward to the next novel in this series.

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

Recommended to fans of contemporary romance

Rating - 4.5 stars

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books on my Summer Reading List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature over at The Broke and the Bookish.

So I know I missed last week's post of top ten books for a beach bag, but I couldn't really come up with any.

This week's topic is the Top Ten Books on my Summer Reading List. Actually that's next week's topic.  This week is the Top Ten Books I've read so far this year. I decided to switch them up for this week, mainly because I was so excited about my Summer Reading List!).

Here they are in order that I am most anticipating.

1. Forever With You - Christy & Todd the Married Years - by Robin Jones Gunn - this is the one book that I am most excited about this summer. According to Robin, this one picks up right where the last Katie Weldon book left off. I can pretty much guarantee I will drop EVERYTHING to read this. It actually comes out today, and I'm hoping to get a copy next weekend.

2. Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer - Karen's books are always a delight. I decided not to select this one for review as there was another I wanted as well. But as soon as I can get a copy of it, I'll be reading it.

3. Captured By Love by Jody Hedlund - I've loved Jody's books since I first discovered her a couple of years ago. I'm really looking forward to reviewing it.

4. Desires of a Baron by Rose Gordon - It's been out for a month or so already. I usually buy her books the moment that they are released, just didn't this time. Still her romances always have a touch of humor and are fun to read. Note - this is a secular romance, and I would only recommend it to my followers who don't mind reading Secular Romances.

5. For Such a Time as This by Kate Breslin - A retelling of the Book of Esther set in WWII. I think it'll be a fascinating read. I just requested it from the library.

6. Insurgent by Veronica Roth - I read the first book, Divergent, not too long ago via audio book. I'm looking forward to reading book 2 sometime soon.

7. It Had to be You by Susan May Warren - I've got this one on my Kindle and will be reading it soon since it's part of the Tyndale Summer Reading Program.

8. Firewall by DiAnn Mills - another one that's a part of the Tyndale Summer Reading Program. I hope to be able to read it soon.

9. With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden - a summer read I'm looking forward to.

10. In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin - due out in August, I'm really looking for to conclusion of this series.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Hacker - A Review

Published - June, 2014 Worthy Publishers

Series - The Outlaw Chronicles Book 3

Author - Ted Dekker

Title - Hacker

Format - ebook, paper

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Nyah Parks is a 17 year old genius. After her father and brother were killed in a car accident that left her mother with brain damage, Nyah uses her computer hacking skills to hack into one of the top corporations in the world. She soon realizes that she's in danger and aborts her hack, but not before alerting those in charge. Not knowing who to trust and fearing for her life, Nyah turns to the one friend she's got. Together she and her friend find themselves in a virtual world that is filled with both danger and answers. Will it be enough?

I've not read a Ted Dekker book in several years, so picking up this one was a nice change. I was caught from the first page and kept turning pages - quickly - until the ending. The only reason I didn't finish it in one setting was because I fell asleep while reading in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Suspense is one thing that I've come to expect from a Ted Dekker book, and I was not disappointed. I kept wondering how things were going to happen. I did not see the twists and turns coming either. While this is the third book in the Outlaw Chronicles, it can be read independently of the others.

Both Nyah and Austin were searching. Their searches took them in different directions, but arrived at the same place eventually. Their questions were real and were things I've asked in my own life.

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

Recommended to fans of thrillers, Stephen King, Steven James, Ted Dekker, Frank Peretti

Rating - 4.5 stars

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Place in His Heart - A Review

Published - June, 2014 by Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Series - The Southold Chronicles Book 1

Author - Rebecca DeMarino

Title - A Place in His Heart

Format - ebook, paper

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Mary Langston longs to be loved and cherished by a husband. When her father arranges a marriage with a man from her childhood, Mary begs him to not arrange it. Her father agrees to allow the widowed baker, Barnabas Horton, to court her instead. Barnabas loved his wife. He always will. But he knows that his young sons need a mother, and he's been touched by Mary's gentle heart. They reach an agreement and marry and soon set off for the New World. Mary loves her husband and his sons. But what her heart longs for the most is his love in return. Will she ever truly be Barnabas's wife or will the ghost of a woman long gone haunt their relationship and future?

I wasn't sure what to expect with this book. I thought the cover was amazing and it pulled me into the book. I found it to be pretty slow moving though.

Both Barnabas and Mary had issues to work through and to let go. I enjoyed how they came to work through those issues. But I felt that there could have been more depth in their characters. The author did a really great job in describing the harsh conditions of the New World.I also found it interesting to read the author's note at the end of the book where she explains that this story is based on her own ancestors and their journey to the New World.

While I didn't particularly love it, I didn't dislike it either. It was really just ok. Still others may love this book.

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 historical fiction

Rating - 3 stars

Friday, June 6, 2014

Saving Amelie - A Review

Published - May, 2014, Tyndale House Publishers

Author - Cathy Gohlke

Title - Saving Amelie

Format - ebook, paper

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Beautiful Rachel Kramer travels with her father from New York to Germany at a time when most Americans are trying to get out of the country. In Berlin, she soon discovers that the eugenics research her father has done her entire life has far-reaching consequences. When a childhood friend asks Rachel's assistance in getting her deaf daughter out of Germany, Rachel reluctantly agrees. Until she witnesses something so terrifying that shakes her to her core and forces her to investigate her father's files. What she discovers in the files sends her on the run. Enlisting the help of American journalist, Jason Young, Rachel flees to a small village where the family she didn't know she had live peacefully. Yet even in the remote village, tensions run high. When additional refugees arrive, Rachel is forced into hiding. Will she ever be free?

This book was very gripping. I was transported to WWII Germany. Most of the books I've read about WWII are not set deep in Germany. This one was. But it was also fascinating to read about the resistance movement that seemed very similar to the US's Underground Railroad. Still the book was rich in historical detail and very well researched. For being a book of over 450 pages, I found it to be a very fast read.

At first, I really didn't like Rachel. But as I discovered that she was as much of a victim as Lea and Amelie, I came to like her. I loved Lea. I loved her heart. And little Amelie. She was the catalyst that changed the lives of all who knew her or came into contact with her. Amelie was by far my favorite character in the entire book. Then there's Jason. His struggle was different. He understood what was going on but the foreign press was censored and he couldn't actually report the specifics of what was truly happening in Germany. He also knew the risk he was taking in helping smuggle forged papers and Jewish refugees out of Germany.

This is a book I'd highly recommend to all who like WWII fiction.

I received the Kindle version of this book for free from Tyndale House via NetGalley for the purpose of reviewing. I also read it as part of the Tyndale Summer Reading Program. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Brock & Bodie Thoene, Francine Rivers, WWII fiction, Sarah Sundin

Rating - 5 stars

Monday, June 2, 2014

Woman of Fortune - A Review

Published - June, 2014, Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Series - Texas Gold Collection, book 1

Title - A Woman of Fortune

Author - Kellie Coates Gilbert

Format - ebook, paper

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Claire Massey is living the life that others dream about. Her family is worth billions, and she is every bit a socialite. Yet her perfect world comes crashing down around her in one instant. Her husband is accused of fraud, and he's guilty of it. Claire is soon thrust into a media circus, a flurry of lawyers, trials, and seeing her home and possessions sold off. Left with very little, she has to start over. But who will take a chance on the wife of a thief?

This is the first book I've read by Kellie Coates Gilbert. I like her writing style. But I didn't really connect with any of the main characters.

I found Claire to be self-centered and really not very likeable. At least at first. She did grow on me, but I still didn't connect with her until the end. Daughter Lainie is a selfish spoiled brat. Through the entire book, she was focused on one thing - herself. Son Garrett wanted to disassociate himself from his family at the expense of his mother. Son Max seemed to be the most down to earth. While I did find him to be a bit more of a cynic, I did kinda of like him. Claire's husband, Tuck, kept saying he was sorry and he didn't know how he let things get the way that they did. For me, his redemption  came in the letters he wrote Claire. Those were pretty good.

The one character I adored was Claire's best friend Jana Rae. This is a friend who not only lost her retirement savings because of Claire's husband, but she wasn't afraid to tell Claire the truth. She didn't sugarcoat anything. Yet she was the one friend who also stood by Claire and was there for her through everything.

Overall, this was a fast read for me. I didn't really care for the characters, but I did enjoy the author's writing style. I'll probably read the next in the series. But for me, this one isn't a keeper.

I received this book for free from Revell Books for the purpose of reviewing. I was not required to like the book, only give my honest opinion. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of women's fiction, contemporary fiction

Rating - 3 stars

The author has created a YouTube video about the book. Watch it here.