Saturday, July 30, 2016

They Danced On - A Review

Published - July 2016, Tyndale Books
Series - The Darlings Book 3
Author - Carre Armstrong Gardner
Title - They Danced On
Format - ebook, paper
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Summary from Amazon:
Nothing is more important to Jane Darling than her family. She’s dedicated her life to raising her children, and they all appear to be doing well. She can finally relax and enjoy life. But when her husband becomes seriously ill, Jane finds herself taking on the most difficult role of her life.

Laura Darling moved away to escape the expectations of her family. Ever since she went through rehab, they watch her like a hawk. Now she has a good job, new friends, and no one to criticize her or comment on everything she’s doing. But when everything begins to unravel, Laura’s heart turns toward home.

Follow the Darling family through triumph and tragedy as they struggle with an uncertain future.
My Thoughts:
It is very rare for me to not finish a book. Especially review titles. This one dragged. I was on like chapter 5 and felt that I should be further along that I was. I had no connection with the characters or the plot. This particular book probably wasn't for me. There are several positive reviews online.

I received this book for free from Tyndale 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.

Rating - 1 star (did not finish)

What Matters Most - A Review

Published - July 2016, Revell Books
Series - Texas Gold Book 4
Author - Kellie Coates Gilbert
Title - What Matters Most
Format - ebook, paper
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Summary from Amazon:
Leta Breckenridge is forced to drop out of college to care for her dementia-ridden mother. After learning a severely delinquent account may force her mother into a less desirable facility, Leta steps out of her comfort zone and lands a high-paying job at an Austin public relations firm. But her dream job turns into a nightmare when she learns the firm is a front for a political opposition machine--and that the research she's been collecting will be used against her new love interest, Nathan Emerson.

Nathan is a rising political star being pressured to run a bid to unseat the current governor of Texas. He's already in a relationship with a woman much better suited to be a politician's wife, but he's never met anyone like Leta. Could this feisty, challenging woman hold the key to his heart?

My Thoughts:
This book was riveting. I found myself drawn in quickly and curious to see how it would unfold. I've read the others in this series, and this one may be the best. I'll admit that I don't usually read books that deal with topics that could have real world consequences, but this book was good. I loved how Leta researched beyond what her boss had asked her to do, and that she made her own decisions. While it is a part of a series, it stands alone. 

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

Recommended to fans of women's fiction, contemporary fiction

Rating - 4 stars

Honor Redeemed - A Review

Published - July 2016 Revell Books
Series - Keys of Promise Book 2
Author - Christine Johnson
Title - Honor Redeemed
Format - ebook, paper
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Summary from Amazon: Two years ago, Prosperity Jones waved farewell to her beloved David as the army sent him to faraway Key West. Now with her parents gone, she has but one prospect for the future: make the dangerous journey from Nantucket to Key West to reunite with David and secure a happier life. Arriving penniless in the South, Prosperity is dismayed to find David married to someone else. Scrambling to survive and nursing a broken heart, she gains the friendship--and the affection--of a kind doctor. Could he be the answer to her loneliness? Or will her life be upended by circumstance yet again?

My Thoughts:
I was really excited to read this one. I enjoyed book one and was looking forward to book 2. This one did not disappoint me. I loved the setting of the story, and I loved how Prosperity tried to move on. I also loved David. I loved how he did the right thing, no matter the cost. This was one I read rather quickly. I look forward to more from this author.

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

Recommended to fans of: historical fiction, Jody Hedlund

Rating - 4 stars

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Elegant Facade - A Review

Published - July, 2016 Bethany House
Author - Kristi Ann Hunter
Series - Hawthorne House Book 2
Title - An Elegant Facade
Format - ebook, paper, audio
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Lady Georgina Hawthorne plans to marry well. She wants a man with a title. She has planned her debut down to the last detail, and is determined to be the belle of the season. Colin McCrae has money and business connections, but no title. Due to his powerful connections, he is invited everywhere. The few encounters that he has had with Lady Georgina, he finds her shallow and selfish. But Lady Georgina has a secret. One that Colin is too close to discovering. Yet despite their mutual dislike of each other, there is an attraction that neither one is ready to admit. Will love be sacrificed to make dreams come true?

When I read the first book in this series last fall, I absolutely adored it. I loved the relationships between the Hawthorne siblings. So I was thrilled to be able to read this book. It's been on my radar since I finished the first one.

This book starts before the end of the first one, but several of the scenes are from a different perspective. I loved Colin. I thought he was classy and had a sense of humor. I didn't like Georgina, though she did grow on me. I found Georgina to be spoiled, selfish, and shallow. I'll admit that by the end of the book, I had come to not only feel bad for her, but to like her as well.

I loved the Hawthorne siblings. I can't wait to see them again.

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, Jody Hedlund, Karen Witemeyer, Kristi Ann Hunter

Rating - 4 stars

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Things Books Have Made Me Want to do or Learn About After Reading

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

Today's topic is rather interesting. It's the top ten things that after reading a book, I want to do or learn more about. Because let's face it, books open the doors to learning in ways that are hard to imagine.

So here's my list.

1. Books have made me want to climb into a wardrobe to find Narnia. Because after all, it is Narnia.

2. Books have made me want to study specific periods of history. After reading the Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron, I wanted to do some research into orchestras in concentration camps. Because that's something I never learned about in my history classes.

3. Books have made me want to learn to cook, and to cook really well. I'm not saying that I can't cook, but I just don't. But some books put recipes in them, and I want to try them out. One such one has become a favorite - Alissa's Ritzy Chicken that first appeared in one of the Glenbrooke books by Robin Jones Gunn.

4. Books have made me want to travel the world. I want to see the places that are mentioned in my stories. And to add to the travel the world, I guess I should include the wanting to travel to other realms since I read a lot of fantasy.

5. Books have made me want to go back to simpler times. Because you know what, books make life seem so easy in the days before technology took over everything.

6. Books have made me want to live in a small town where everyone knows each other. Of course, I'm a city girl myself, but I still want to move to Glenbrooke, Oregon.

7. Books have made me want to study the British aristocracy. I mean the things like dukes, marquesses, earls, and so on. And what's the difference in them. Because I read a lot of books involving the British aristocracy.

8. Books have made me want to become a detective. Growing up, I loved Trixie Beldon. I used to think that it would be so much fun to be a detective. And even now, with the romantic suspense books I read, I have to wonder what it would be like to put the clues together and come up with a solution.

9. Books have taught me about living on a prairie. I grew up reading and watching the Little House on the Prairie. And reading Janette Oke's Love Comes Softly series. So I've learned a lot about life in the pioneer days from books.

10. Books have taught me about Greek/Roman mythology and how convoluted the family trees actually are. I've always been fascinated with the Greek/Roman myths. But thanks to the Percy Jackson books, I've got a slightly better understanding of how they are all related.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Missing - A Review

Published - July 2016, Revell Books
Series - Nikki Boyd Files Book 2
Author - Lisa Harris
Title - Missing
Format - ebook, paper
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Nikki Boyd doesn't  usually investigate homicides. But when her task force is called in to assist on a missing persons case associated with a homicide, Nikki and her team jump right in. The first set of clues lead them to the marina and the boat that just happens to belong to her friend Tyler Grant where there is another dead body. Now the stakes have just been raised. Nikki must figure out what connection Tyler has to the case, find the missing woman, and do it all without getting killed. Because someone is silencing anyone looking for answers and now Nikki's life is in danger.

When I read the first book last year, I really enjoyed it. This one, pulled me in from the first page and didn't let me go. I think I finished this one in a matter of hours.

I loved how quickly Nikki had to work to stay one step ahead of the killer. I also loved seeing how she has grown since book one. Her relationship with Tyler is evolving as well. I am looking forward to seeing what will develop between these two as well.

Nikki's team is wonderful. I love how they work together to put the clues together and to help keep Nikki safe.

While this was book 2, it could easily be read as a stand alone.

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

Recommended to fans of romantic suspense, Irene Hannon, Lynette Eason, Dani Pettrey

Rating - 4 stars

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books Set Outside of the US

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

Today's topic will take us on travels around the world. It is the top ten books set outside of the US.

I'm going to be grouping mine by country.

1. The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling - Probably some of my all time favorites.

2. The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis - While it is true that the majority of the books take place in Narnia, the children still have to enter Narnia from somewhere, and in this case it's from England.

3. The Secret of Pembroke Park by Julie Klassen - I read a lot of books set in England, but this is one of my favorites.

4. Maire by Linda Windsor - I love this book. It's set 5th century Ireland, and it's just wonderful.

5. Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs - The book of Ruth is my favorite book of the Bible. This is the first book in her Scottish series retelling the story of Ruth.

6. Circle of Honor by Carol Umberger - Maybe it's the cover, but it is one that I love.

7. Juliet by Anne Fortier - I love this book. It's beautiful.

8. Forgotten Daughter by Caroline Dale Snedeker - This one is set in Ancient Italy.

9. The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron - This one is also set in the US. But the historical part of the story takes place in both Austria and Poland, and to some degree France.

10. Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson - This was the first, well second actually, book that came to mind when I thought of France. But since my first book was Les Miserables, and I don't have any classics on my list, I went with my second choice. It was a good mix of both contemporary and historical.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Facts About Me - Bookish related

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

Today's topic is about ten things I want the world to know about me. I'm going to keep it book related.

1. I was reading before I was in 1st grade. I'm not sure exactly when I started reading, but on the first day of school in 1st grade, a little girl next to me asked me what the teacher's name was. I replied that it was on the board. She said she couldn't read. I knew then that I was reading.

2. My favorite books automatically open to my favorite passages.

3. Sometimes when I reread, I only read my favorite parts.

4. I have a to be read list that I'll never finish.

5. I try not to request more than 1 library book at a time. There's a reason for this. A few years ago, I'd requested several books. When I went to the library to pick them up, I had not 1, not 2, but 10 books on hold for me.

6. I fully expect everyone around me to understand when I talk about characters as if they were real people.

7. Certain books still make me cry. One example is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I start crying around page 30 and don't stop til the end.

8. I cry at happy endings.

9. I felt that I needed therapy after reading Mockingjay. I seriously don't think I picked up ANYTHING to read for about a month after that book.

10. I dwell on what I read.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books I've Enjoyed with less than 2000 Goodreads Ratings

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

Today's topic is incorporating Goodreads into the list today. It's about books I've enjoyed that have less than 2000 Goodreads ratings on it. What that means, is that less than 2000 people took the time to give the book a star rating (1-5) on Goodreads. It also means that chances are, there are some hidden gems in these lists.

Here is my list from smallest number of ratings to the most, and yes I have read all of these books and rated them 4 or 5 stars.

1. Worth the Wait by Laura Jackson - Laura's debut book has currently, 60 ratings on it on Goodreads. Her book is really good and fans of YA will enjoy it. Plus she's my friend.

2. Where She Belongs by Johnnie Alexander - This is probably one of my favorite books I've read recently. I'm eagerly looking forwards to the second in the series. It currently has 123 Goodreads ratings.

3. Isle of Hope: Unfailing Love by Julie Lessman - It's no secret that Julie is one of my favorite authors. This is her first contemporary novel, and trust me when I say that it is GOOD! There are currently 162 Goodreads ratings on it.

4. Reluctant Duchess by Roseanna M. White - I fell in love with this book when I read it recently. I loved the characters. It currently has 320 Goodreads ratings.

5. Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund - This book took me a bit, but by the time I'd finished it, the hero Ryan Chambers has become my favorite of Jody's heroes. I'm not sure what it was that drew me in and made me fall in love with him, but I did. I even wrote a guest piece featuring him as a Fiction Hero. You can read that piece here. Anyway, this book has 621 Goodreads ratings on it.

6. The Gathering by K.E. Ganshert - Yes, it's book 3 in the Gifting Series. But I loved this series, and this one in particular. It's a YA novel written by a Christian romance author purposely writing under a different name. Why? To keep her works very separate as she knows that not all who read YA enjoy Christian romance and vice versa. It has 713 Goodreads ratings on it.

7. In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin - Having read all but her most recent book, Anchor in the Storm, at the time that I wrote this post, In Perfect Time is still my favorite. I've not run across another author who does WWII fiction the way that Sarah does. There are 798 Goodreads ratings on this book.

8. How to Catch a Prince by Rachel Hauck - Every little girl, it seems, love fairytales and stories about princes and princesses. I've gushed about this series (and this is book 3) multiple times. If you've not read it, go find a copy. There are 1,287 Goodreads ratings on this book.

9. Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan - I've noticed that I'm becoming more and more a fan of YA fiction. This one was just plain fun. There are currently 1,347 Goodreads ratings on it.

10. The Concealed by Sarah Kleck - The Kindle First books are frequently touch and go for me. This one though, pulled me in and the moment I finished it, I promptly pre-ordered the sequel (which comes out in November). It's the one on my list with the highest number of Goodreads ratings while still being less than 2000 with 1,958.

There you have it. Hopefully you'll find some titles you want to take a chance on.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Saturday Scribbles Vol 2.15

Happy Saturday everyone! It's been a busy couple of weeks for me. I was able to attend an all day workshop taught by a professional makeup artist a few weeks ago. We arrived with no makeup on and left ready to go out on the town.



My church had VBS June 20-24. I worked registration, like I do with AWANA. Then I would assist with whatever our children's director needed. But of course, I also managed to make it outside for snacks and snowcones. 
I'm  being used as a pillow. I love this sweetheart.

Then this past Saturday, June 25, I went with a group of my friends to Houston's Escape Room. That was so much fun! What is it you may ask me? Well, it's a place where you and a group of people are locked into a room and have one hour to solve the clues to get out. No, you're not tied up or anything like that. I can't go into too much detail because I am not allowed to give any spoilers away. The group of us who went included my best friend, her husband, her friend from graduate school, his cousin and his cousin's husband, a young lady in my small group, a couple from church, one more lady from church, and me. Between all of us, we had enough minds in the room to be able to figure out the puzzles. At first it was utter chaos. We were opening things, flipping through other things, picking objects up, and just trying to make sense of what we were doing. We started to discover that some objects were locked. Some locks required a key. Others a combination. One object required very specific information. We were allowed to use our hint cards if we needed to do so. Because there was a facilitator in the room watching and observing us. We ended up using 4 of our 5 hints. And without one of them, I seriously doubt that we would have been able to escape. And yes, we did escape. We finished with 2 minutes left on the clock. That one hour was probably the fastest time I've ever seen go by in my life!!!!
We escaped!