Thursday, June 30, 2016

Sea Rose Lane - A Review

Published - June 2016, Revell Books
Series - Hope Harbor Book 2
Author - Irene Hannon
Title - Sea Rose Lane
Format - ebook, paper, audio
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When attorney Eric Nash arrives back home in Hope Harbor, he doesn't expect to get into a fender bender within his first few minutes. He also doesn't expect his father to be remodeling his childhood home into a Bed and Breakfast. To make matters worse, he's distracted by the pretty blonde, BJ Stevens, in charge of the remodeling. BJ isn't wanting a relationship. Not at all. No matter how handsome her employer's son may be. But when the pair join forces to create a program for Hope Harbor's seniors, maybe, just maybe they'll be able to take a chance on each other as well.

This one was pretty good. It's not my favorite one of Irene's contemporary romances. I'm still a big fan of her romantic suspense books. But this one was good.

Of all of the characters in the book, I think that perhaps Charlie (fish taco hut owner) is my favorite. I love the way that he just has this way of knowing what needs be said/done. And that everyone accepts it.

It was fun to catch up with characters from the first Hope Harbor novel too. While this is part of the series, it stands alone.

But for a summer read, it's well worth 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 Denise Hunter, Irene Hannon, Becky Wade, Melissa Tagg, Susan May Warren

Rating - 4 stars

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

No Other Will Do - A Review

Published - June 2016, Bethany House
Series - Ladies of Harper Station Book 1
Author - Karen Witemeyer
Title - No Other Will Do
Format - ebook, paper, audio
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Emma Chandler doesn't need a man. After all, she's the founder of a women's colony in Harper's Station, Texas. But someone wants the women to leave and has been threatening the women. Emma doesn't know what else to do other than to send for her best friend, Malachi Shaw. Malachi has finally earned the respect that he has craved his entire life. Yet when he receives a telegram from Emma, he drops everything to go to Harper's Station and the girl who once saved his life. As Malachi sees Emma for the woman she's become, he can't help but realize that he's in love with her. But is there any hope that love can blossom between a woman who doesn't need a man and a man who will do anything to protect her?

I have read every one of Karen Witemeyer's books, and I've enjoyed each of them. This one was no exception. I love the ladies of Harper's Station. I love how they band together to find out who has been threatening them.

I loved both Malachi and Emma. Their interactions were, at times, hilarious. And at other times they were sweet. But still, I enjoyed these two characters.

I realize that this review is rather short. I think that's because I found the book delightful, and can't say anything else about it.

I received one copy from the publisher to review and a second copy (which I have given my mother) from the author to promote. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Jody Hedlund, Regina Jennings

Rating - 4 stars

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Freebie

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke & the Bookish

This week, the topic is a freebie. I went back over the topics I'd done as freebies before, and those weren't sparking my interest to revisit. So I texted a friend. She didn't have any ideas either. Well I was driving in to work the other day, when it hit me. I could do a top ten on my favorite award winning children's books! I'm limiting it specifically to both Newberry and the Caldecott winners.

Some of you may ask, what are those awards?

The Newberry medal is named for John Newberry, a British bookseller. It is awarded each year to a children's book for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. It was first awarded in 1922, and has been awarded annually since. Some years, there is one winner and several honor books. Other years there is only a winner. If you want to see the entire list of both winners and honor recipients, click here.

The Caldecott medal is awarded to illustrators. It is named in honor of the 19th century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. Like the Newberry medal, it is awarded annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. If you want to see the entire list, click here.

I had a hard time narrowing my list down to ten. So I have a total of 20 Newberry and Caldecott winners. I'll list the Newberry books first, and then the Caldecott.

Newberry Books
1. Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink  - I remember loving this book as a child. It was the 1936 winner.

2. Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson- I remember my mom reading this one aloud to me when I was really little. I think it spent every summer in our house from being checked out of the library. It's a beautiful story. It was the 1945 winner.

3. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White - This book has long been one of my very favorites. I've got one copy that is falling apart, and another one that appears more pristine. It was a 1953 honor book.

4. Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright- I still have my copy of both this book and its sequel. I discovered these either at the library or through one of the Scholastic Book Fairs. It was a 1958 honor book.

5. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare - I read this book for the first time in 6th grade. I've read it multiple times since. It's probably my favorite one of Speare's. It was the 1959 winner.

6. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell - I read this one in either 6th or 7th grade for the first time. It captivated me. It was the 1961 winner.

7. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle - This is probably one my very favorite books to this day. And that says a lot! I've replaced my copy about 3 times now. It was the 1963 winner.

8. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH - I read this one AFTER reading RASCO and the Rats of NIMH. I had found it in my elementary school library and thought why not. It was the 1972 winner.

9. Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli - I read this one in 7th grade. Or maybe 8th. I'd never read a book that focused on homelessness before. It was the 1991 winner.

10. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine - This one was required reading in my Children's Literature class in college. I LOVED it! It is still probably my favorite Cinderella retelling. It was a 1998 honor book.

11. Holes by Louis Sachar - I'd long loved his books. This was one that I needed to read for Teaching Reading through Childen's Literature class in college. I loved his style of writing and how he related to his audience. It was the 1999 winner.

Caldecott Books
12. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans - I remember reading, and being read to, the Madeline stories. I don't think I ever owned any, but they were fun to check out from the library. It was a 1940 honor book.

13. Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey- Oh my goodness. The charcoal drawings of this book just make the story of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard come to life. If you've not read it yet, I highly recommend it. It's probably one of my all time favorite picture books. It was the 1942 winner.

14. The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton - I loved this book for years. In fact, several years ago, I gave this book and several others by Burton to my best friend for her daughters to enjoy. It was the 1943 winner.

15. Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats - I remember reading this one several times over the years. I also remember it being one of the most popular books for my mom's students. It was the 1963 winner.

16. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak - The first time I read this book, I didn't really care for it. But over time, it came to be a good read. It was the 1964 winner.

17. Rain Makes Applesauce by Julian Scheer- I'm not sure when I discovered this book. Probably when I was a child. But it is probably my 2nd all time favorite picture book. Ever. It was a 1965 honor book.

18. Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg - This book is my all time favorite picture book. I love it. It was the 1986 winner.

19. Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky - This was one I was encouraged to read during our fairy tale unit in my college Children's Literature class. It is beautifully told. It was the 1998 winner.

20. Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick- I'll admit I've only looked at this book. I've not read it yet, but I know the story behind it. And since Winnie the Pooh is my favorite stuffed animal, the story behind it has caused me to add it to my list. I personally think that this is a well deserved honor for this book. It is the 2016 winner.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Anchor in the Storm - A Review

Published - May 2016, Revell Books
Series - Waves of Freedom Book 2
Author - Sarah Sundin
Title - Anchor in the Storm
Format - ebook, paper
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Lillian Avery is thrilled to finally get a chance at being a pharmacist. With most of the young men signing up to fight, she knows that qualified pharmacists are in short supply and most don't want to take a chance on a woman let alone one who is crippled. As she settles into her job in Boston, she starts to notice something odd with specific prescriptions to be filled. It seems that the dosages are too high. Lt. Arch Vanderbilt is grateful to be alive after his ship sank. Yet he can't sleep. When he is prescribed a large dose of pills, he starts to wonder if there is a connection between the medication and his crew's performance. Comparing notes with Lillian, the two soon find themselves in the midst of something that is possibly  even more dangerous than the war. When Lillian  begins to fall for Arch, she tries to stop. But can a wartime mystery bring two lonely and hurting people together?

I have been looking forward to this book since I finished the first one in the series. I was anxious to see how Arch and Lillian would fall in love. I've  also enjoyed each book of Sarah Sundin's that I have read. But let me be honest. I struggled with this one. I'm not sure why.

The story was good, the characters were well developed, but for whatever reason, I just couldn't get into it. I did finally manage to finish the book, and I will read the third one next year.

But I've  come to the realization that I won't love every book by my favorite authors. And you know what? That's ok.

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

Recommend to fans of WWII fiction, Sarah Sundin, Cathy Gohkle, Kristy Cameron.

Rating: 3 stars

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Favorite 2016 Release...So Far

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

This week's topic looks back over the past six months and narrows down the books I've read to my favorites so far this year. I'll admit, I looked at my read in 2016 shelf on Goodreads and pulled only books I rated 4 or 5 stars.

Here is my list.

1. Stars Above by Marissa Meyer - This could very well be my favorite book I've read this year. It was the perfect conclusion to the Lunar Chronicles.

2. Where She Belongs by Johnnie Alexander - This was a new to me author that I was feeling kinda of blah about, but the book was wonderful.

3. Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson - I loved this book. Absolutely loved it.

4. Playing the Part by Jen Turano - Having discovered her books later, this one is delightful. It's funny, and it makes me want to go back and read her others.

5. You're the One that I Want by Susan May Warren - In this conclusion to the Christiansen Family, prodigal Owen's story is finally told. I love this family.

6. Reluctant Duchess by Roseanna M. White - I'm pleasantly surprised to discover how much I enjoyed this one after not being fully enraptured with the first.

7. Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter - This book was the perfect one to read early in the spring. I loved it.

8. At Love's Bidding by Regina Jennings - I'd forgotten how funny her books can be. This one was both sweet and funny.

9. Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey - Having loved her Alaska Courage series, I was excited to see where this new series takes her. I'm already attached to the characters.

10. Back in the Saddle by Ruth Logan Herne - I was really rather surprised to discover how much this one delighted me. I am eagerly looking forward to the second one.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Most Anticipated 2016 Releases for Rest of Year

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

This week's topic is about what is coming out the rest of the year that I am excited about. I actually managed to keep my list to less than 20 this time!

Here are the books I'm most excited about for the rest of the year in order of month released.

1. An Elegant Facade by Kristi Anne Hunter - Last year's Noble Masquerade was a surprise delight making me excited for the second one. Due out in July.

2. No Way Up by Mary Connealy - A new series by Mary Connealy? Sign me up please! Due out in July.

3. The Wedding Shop by Rachel Hauck - Her books have a way of drawing me in and not letting me go. I can't wait for this one that covers two generations. Due out in August.

4. A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna M White - I loved the Reluctant Duchess, and am excited to read Brice's sister's story. Due out in September.

5. When Love Arrives by Johnnie Alexander - When I read the first in the series at the beginning of the year, I just knew that book 2 would have to make my list. Due out in September

6. Isle of Hope: Love Everlasting by Julie Lessman - I am so excited about this one! I emailed Julie to ask when her next book is planned on coming out, and she emailed me back with the title of the book, and who it is about. It will be Shannon's story. Shannon is Jack's sister from Isle of Hope: Unfailing Love. This one is tentatively scheduled to come out in September.

7. The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan - Book 2 in the Magnus Chase books has been on my radar for AGES! Due out in October.

8. Where Two Hearts Meet by Liz Johnson - After falling in love with the characters in Red Door Inn, I'm excited about this second one in the series. Due out in October.

9. Wild Montana Skies by Susan May Warren - I'm hoping that Susie will give me a new family to fall in love with. Due out in October.

10. Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck - The Royal Wedding Series has been my favorite since I first discovered them. I cannot wait for this one. Due out in October.

11. Heartless by Marissa Meyer - I've loved the Lunar Chronicles and how Marissa takes fairy tales and puts her own twist to them in retelling it. This one is a retelling of Alice in Wonderland. Due out in November.

12. For the Record by Regina Jennings - I enjoyed reading about Betsy when she was just a curious little girl. Well now, she's all grown up. Due out in December.