Monday, December 10, 2012

"Sinister Sprinkles," by Jessica Beck

"Sinister Sprinkles," by Jessica Beck

Just in time for the Winter Festival, a glistening layer of snow has covered the streets of April Springs, North Carolina. Of course, it reminds donut shop owner Suzanne Hart of sweet delicious frosting. But her visions of sugar plums plummet when her ex’s ex-girlfriend gets iced …

Suzanne could never understand why her ex-husband and actor Max cheated on her with Darlene Higgins. Why Darlene’s body was found wearing another woman’s clothes is an even bigger mystery. Now Max is suspected of murder—and Suzanne is sifting through her mixed-up love life looking for clues. If she can’t sprinkle evidence on her half-baked theories of whodunit, Max is as good as fried….  

This is a fun book, fast paced and with enough mystery and fun to keep you interested.  I had no idea until the mystery was solved as to who did it.  Bonus with this book there are recipes included in the book.  Decided I don't want to be a donut baker though as they have to get up in the middle of the night!!!

This is the third book in the series and I will definitely be asking the library to lend me more.

Stars out of 5 : 5 a solid five at that, fun to read, an easy read and if you do have to put the book down, easy to pick up the story again

Saturday, December 8, 2012

"Sisters of the Sari," by Brenda L. Baker

"Sisters of the Sari," by Brenda L. Baker
A debut novel about an American woman and an Indian woman who are about to dramatically change each other's lives-along with the lives of those around them.

While vacationing in India, Kiria Langdon, the opinionated and driven CEO of a major company, meets Santoshi, a former slave who now works as a cleaning lady and lives in a shelter for homeless women in Chennai. Appalled by the conditions in the shelter, Kiria becomes obsessed with the idea of building decent housing for poor working women in India. Santoshi reluctantly agrees to help, even though she thinks Kiria's ideas are too crazy to succeed.

Embarking on a rich journey of personal discovery, both women will learn invaluable lessons about themselves as they forge a powerful bond of sisterhood across the barriers of language and culture-a bond that makes anything possible.

This was such a fun book to read.  Made you laugh and happy and sometimes a little sad, but overall if you are a middle aged woman I think you will be able to relate to Kiria.  I have always wanted to go to India, but after reading this book, I think if would be hard work for me with the heat and mosquito's.  Plus I don't like spicy food at all.

It also teaches you never to judge a book by it's cover, or in this case; never judge a person by the clothes they wear.  It's an easy read and a book that will hook you after the first couple of chapters.

Stars out of 5 : 5 Didn't have a problem with any of the book.  Enjoyed it right the way through.  Well worth the read.

Monday, December 3, 2012

"The Breath of Dawn," by Kristen Heitzmann

"The Breath of Dawn," by Kristen Heitzmann

Corporate turnaround specialist Morgan Spencer, dubbed the "success guru," has a Midas touch in business. But losing his wife sent him to the brink, and his two-year-old daughter, Livie, is all he's living for--until they encounter a woman whose trouble just might draw him out of his own.

Four years ago Quinn Reilly did the right thing. Now the man her testimony put in jail is getting out. Though she has put up barriers to protect herself and those around her, she has come to care for the Spencer family, especially the winsome Livie and her mercurial father. Unwilling to put them at risk when the threats begin, she requests something she hopes the super-successful Morgan might be able to deliver.

Fixing problems is what Morgan does best, but his counter proposal takes them in a direction neither is equipped to handle. Determined to confront the past, will they survive to build a future?

I rather liked this book it kept me interested and wanted me to find out what happened next.  It had a lot of depth to it and enough twists and turns in it to keep it interesting.  I was surprised at how soon I was sucked into the story.  The main characters are made for each other.  Their story though was a little hard to believe, it was too good to be true, even with the twists and turns in it.

Stars out of 5 : 4 I liked it, but there was something missing, not sure what though.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

"Courting Cate," by Leslie Gould

"Courting Cate," by Leslie Gould
When This Couple Gets to Courting, Sparks Will Fly!

In Paradise, Pennsylvania, Cate Miller is known more for her sharp tongue and fiery temper than her striking appearance. Her sweet and flirty sister, Betsy, on the other hand, seems to have attracted most of the bachelors in Lancaster County!

But the sisters' wealthy father has made one hard-and-fast rule: older Cate must marry first, before younger Betsy can even start courting. Unfortunately, untamable Cate has driven away every suitor--until Pete Treger comes to town, that is.

Prodded by the men of the area, Pete turns his attention to winning Cate's hand. But is his interest true or is there a scheme at play?

I have to admit I was getting "Amish Book Burnout," prior to this book, as it was beginning to feel like they were all basically the same.  I am very pleased to say this book was different from the others.  It had a fast pace to the book with enough twists and turns in it, to make you want to read more.

Cate and Pete were truly made for one another and the path they take for them to realize that makes for a great story.  I am pleased to say that this is the first in the series and from what I have read about the next book, it will be a great follow on from this book.  I found the nickname for the twins Mervin and Martin very funny......won't spoil it for you by telling you what, you'll have to read the book!!

Stars out of 5:5 couldn't find anything wrong with the book.  A great read, and an easy read, would recommend this book.  Yes it's about the Amish, but it has a bit more to the story that makes it special.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

"A Change of Fortune," by Jen Turano

"A Change of Fortune," by Jen Turano

Lady Eliza Sumner is on a mission. After losing her family, her fiancé, and her faith, the disappearance of her fortune is the last straw. Now, masquerading as Miss Eliza Sumner, governess-at-large, she's determined to find the man who ran off with her fortune, reclaim the money, and head straight back to London.
Much to Mr. Hamilton Beckett's chagrin, all the eyes of New York society--all the female ones, at least--are on him. Unfortunately for all the matchmaking mothers and eligible daughters, he has no plans to marry again, especially with his hands full keeping his business afloat and raising his two children alone.

When Eliza's hapless attempts to regain her fortune put her right in Hamilton's path, sparks instantly begin to fly. The discovery of a common nemesis causes them to join forces, but with all their plans falling by the wayside and their enemies getting the better of them, it will take a riot of complications for Hamilton and Eliza to realize that God just might have had a better plan in mind all along.

When all of Hamilton's and Eliza's best-laid plans fall by the wayside, it will take a riot of complications for them to realize that God just might have had a better plan in mind all along.
This is the first book I have read by this author and must admit I am true fan of hers now.  What a super book, it hooks you straight away and the dinner scene with Eliza, Hamilton and Zayne was just so funny.
Hamiton and Eliza make great lead characters, and are perfect for one another, however Agatha, is right there with them.  All the characters have infact such "spunk" that there isn't one I truly dislike, well other than Lawrence, and he was just plain annoying.
I have no idea if there will be another book to follow?  However in my humble opinion there are still plenty of stories to tell with the other characters in the book.  Just looked at the authors website and this indeed is first in a series of four books.............YEAH!!!!!
Stars out of 5 : 5 Great book, I HAD to keep on reading it until I finished the book, so read it in one very long sitting...........and suffered dearly, or should I say my housework suffered dearly the next day.  Would highly recommend this book.
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Monday, November 26, 2012

"Miss Scarlet's School of Patternless Sewing," by Kathy Cano-Murillo

"Miss Scarlet's School of Patternless Sewing," by Kathy Cano-Murillo
Sometimes to find your life's true path, you have to stray outside the lines . . .

Scarlet Santana is never happier than when creating fabulous fashions for women of all shapes and sizes. Now, after years of hard work, she finally has the chance to live her dream and study under the hottest designer in New York. To raise money for her move, Scarlet opens an after-hours sewing school in a local record shop, teaching a type-A working mom whose rigid parenting style is causing her family to unravel and an enigmatic seamstress with a mysterious past.

But as stitches give way to secrets and classmates become friends, the women realize an important truth: There is no single pattern for a good life. Happiness is always a custom fit.

This book was really good, fast paced and interesting.  It's easy to get engrossed in the book and the main character Scarlet is great.  Just trying to imagine her in real life would be a joy to know her.

The author of the book has a web site called Crafty Chica     which I must say is very interesting and also a link to a number of blogs.  There are instructions in the back of the book to make various things mentioned in the book.  If you enjoy sewing this book will interest you.  If you like a good chick-lit book you will love this book also.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5 Great book, easy read and one I didn't want to put down.  

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"A Year of Biblical Womanhood," by Rachel Held Evans

"A Year of Biblical Womanhood," by Rachel Held Evans
What is “biblical womanhood” . . . really?

Strong-willed and independent, Rachel Held Evans couldn’t sew a button on a blouse before she embarked on a radical life experiment—a year of biblical womanhood. Intrigued by the traditionalist resurgence that led many of her friends to abandon their careers to assume traditional gender roles in the home, Evans decides to try it for herself, vowing to take all of the Bible’s instructions for women as literally as possible for a year.
Pursuing a different virtue each month, Evans learns the hard way that her quest for biblical womanhood requires more than a “gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4). It means growing out her hair, making her own clothes, covering her head, obeying her husband, rising before dawn, abstaining from gossip, remaining silent in church, and even camping out in the front yard during her period.
See what happens when a thoroughly modern woman starts referring to her husband as “master” and “praises him at the city gate” with a homemade sign. Learn the insights she receives from an ongoing correspondence with an Orthodox Jewish woman, and find out what she discovers from her exchanges with a polygamist wife. Join her as she wrestles with difficult passages of scripture that portray misogyny and violence against women.

With just the right mixture of humor and insight, compassion and incredulity, A Year of Biblical Womanhood is an exercise in scriptural exploration and spiritual contemplation. What does God truly expect of women, and is there really a prescription for biblical womanhood? Come along with Evans as she looks for answers in the rich heritage of biblical heroines, models of grace, and all-around women of valor.

I wanted to read this book as I was curious about what exactly it entailed to live like a "Biblical Woman" would have.  When reading a book it should be an enjoyable experience, not a chore; unfortunately this was a chore for me.  It took me nearly a month to read, which is super long for me, and it felt like hard work to wrap my head around all the details.

It's unfortunate that all the publicity surrounding this book focuses on the author sitting on her roof, living in a tent during her period and calling her husband "Master," as there is a lot more to this book than that and I think if I were brought up in a more "relaxed" faith I think I may have enjoyed/related to this more. 

I did learn more about the women in the Bible, but one person's interpretation of Bible stories/verses etc, may not be another ones.  So I found myself wondering why she thought certain things meant what.  I have no examples to show you, as I didn't write notes when reading the book, and that I think would have been a good idea.  This book has left me having more questions than answers.

Would I recommend this book to you..........YES, as I think you will gain something by reading this book.  If nothing else it will make you think about some of the passages of the Bible that the author quotes.  Was it accurate in all it said........probably not, but if you go into this book with an open mind you may learn something new.

Stars out of 5 : 3 Glad I have read it, but wasn't sorry to see the last page of the book!

I will be donating my copy of the book to the local library.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

"Debt-Proof Your Christmas," by Mary Hunt

"Debt-Proof Your Christmas," by Mary Hunt
Christmas--with no debt, less stress, and more joy!

Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it's also one of the most stressful--and most expensive. Expectations run high, and it's tempting to whip out the credit cards to create the perfect Christmas, with lavish meals, new decorations, and the latest, greatest gadgets and fashions for everyone on your gift list.

But you don't have to overspend or go into debt to have a fabulous holiday.

Financial expert Mary Hunt shows you how to assess your situation, commit to no new debt, and think creatively about gifts. With Mary's guidance, you'll discover what caused you to overspend in the past and how to approach this Christmas with a plan. It just might be the best gift you can give yourself and your family.

First let me say I have NOT read this entire book........YET, but I wanted to let you know how good this book is.  If you celebrate Christmas and even if you celebrate other holidays which involve celebrating and gift giving this book is for you.

Even if you think you are the most frugal you can be when it comes to holidays, you WILL learn something from this book.  I have already done one thing; chapter 14, page 183, Mary gave her adult son a calendar for the up coming year with all the family birthdays, anniversaries etc on it.  I have done the exact same thing for our two, and I even wrote the addresses of the people so there is no need to ask me for them.  The calendars were freebies, one from the oil company with Ontario photos on it for ds and dd got the 2013 Milk Calendar.  The only difference is I am not giving them for Christmas I am giving them as just because gifts.

Told ds about it, and he was whining as he said this makes him more accountable now........duh yes!!!  There are some many great chapters all with super ideas, including gifts in jars, gifts from the kitchen, also advise on finding the bargains.  Honestly too much to  describe here.

I normally give all the books I review to the library to donate.  I am keeping this one, as it's that good, and I know I will turn to it year after year for more advise.

Stars out of 5 : 10..........I know I can't give ten stars but it is worth while and if you haven't started your Christmas shopping, this is a great resource to help you along.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"The Christmas Pony," by Melody Carlson

"The Christmas Pony," by Melody Carlson
With Christmas around the corner, the Turnbull family is in need of a few small miracles.

It is 1937, and Lucy Turnbull knows better than to wish for a pony this Christmas. Her mother has assured her in no uncertain terms that asking for a pony is the same as asking for the moon. Besides, the only extra mouths they need at their boarding house are the paying kind. Then an interesting pair of strangers comes to town, and Lucy's world changes forever.

Again this book was a lovely book.  I loved the lead character Lucy, she was a character with so much depth and wisdom, especially for her age.  This book highlighted how outward appearances mean nothing, it's what's inside of you that counts and shines through.

There are no real surprises and you will know what is going to happen, but regardless it was one of those books that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.  It's also an easy one or two afternoon read, and with a Christmas theme that gets you in the mood for the holidays.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5 Again loved the book, but thought it was a tad expensive at $14.99.  I would recommend that you do read this though as you won't be sorry.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

"Christmas Roses," by Amanda Cabot

"Christmas Roses," by Amanda Cabot
Celia Anderson doesn't have a husband on her Christmas wish list. But when a traveling carpenter finds lodging at her boardinghouse, she admits that she might remarry if she found the right man--the kind of man who would bring her roses for Christmas. It would take a miracle, though, to find roses during a harsh Wyoming winter.

But Christmas, after all, is the time for miracles . . .

First let me say the link above is too an e-book, I read the hardcover book.  This is a book you should be able to read in an afternoon or two.  It's a feel good Christmas book, with no real surprises; well there was one.  It's a book that will make you feel good about life and it wants you to know that things do happen for a reason.  Also good things do happen to good people.

Stars out of 5: 4.5  The only reason I did not give it 5 stars is because of the price of the book.  It is $14.99, granted it is a hard cover book, but I think it was a little expensive.  However I would recommend that you do order it from the library, as it is well worth the read, or if money isn't a worry buy it, as it is a good book.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Friday, November 16, 2012

"The Christmas Pearl," by Dorothea Benton Frank

"The Christmas Pearl," by Dorothea Benton Frank

"Theodora is the matriarch of a family that has grown into a bunch of truculent knuckleheads. While she's finally gotten them all together in South Carolina to celebrate, this Christmas looks nothing like the extravagant, homey holidays of her childhood.

What happened to the days when Christmas meant tables groaning with home-cooked goodies, over-the-top decorations, and long chats in front of the fire with Pearl, her grandmother's beloved housekeeper and closest confidante?

Luckily for Theodora, a special someone who heard her plea for help arrives, with pockets full of enough Gullah magic and common sense to make Theodora's Christmas the love-filled miracle it's meant to be."

I am a huge fan of this author, mainly because her books are set in South Carolina, and I love South Carolina as much as Tennessee.  

This is one of those feel good books where it starts out with troubles and people disliking one another and ending with everyone being every one's best friend.  It's an easy book to read with honestly no real surprises, but because it's set at Christmas and because you cannot help but fall in love with Theodora it's really an enjoyable book.

Add to the mix that there a lot of recipes at the back of the book what more could you ask for.

Stars out of 5 : 3.5  At only 154 pages long an ideal book to read when you are sitting in a waiting room in a doctors office.

"Busy Body," by M. C. Beaton

"Busy Body," by M. C. Beaton

Agatha Raisin has never been one for enforced holiday cheer, but her friendly little village of Carsely has always prided itself on its traditional Christmas festivities. But this year the bells will not be ringing out Silent Night as Mr John Sunday, an officer with the Cotswold Health and Safety Board, has chosen Christmas as the time to crack down what he sees as gross misconduct by every man, woman, and child in the vicinity.

The village shop is told it can no longer have wooden shelves which have been there since the time of Queen Victoria 'in case someone is inflicted with a splinter.' The village school is ordered to leave lights on at night 'to prevent unauthorized intruders from tripping in the dark.' And children are warned to not play with 'counterfeit banknotes' after passing around toy money in the playground.

But finally Mr Sunday goes too far when he rules that there cannot be a Christmas tree atop the church tower this year. Soon after the decree and just before Christmas, Agatha is sipping a cup of tea and trying to stay awake as minute by minute of the Carsely Ladies Society meeting at the vicarage drones on when a sudden scream wakes her from her stupor. The ladies rush out of the building and into the garden to find Sunday lying face down in the petunias, very much dead. Agatha is instantly on the case, but with so many people having threatened the life of the victim, it's almost impossible to know where to start!

I actually read this book before "The Potted Gardener," and as this is the 21st book in the series, things had gone forward from the 3rd book.  I enjoyed this book as it was one of those books where you say "it could only happen in a country village."  The characters are so true to life and if you live in a small village you probably know one or two of them first hand.

The story keeps up a good pace and you are left guessing as to who did what and when.  It also proves what a small world it have to read the book to see what I mean by that.

Stars out of 5 : 4 fun book, easy read and it will keep you entertained....oh and Agatha still seems to be a grumpy old thing!!!

"The Potted Gardener," by M. C. Beaton

"The Potted Gardener," by M. C. Beaton

Agatha goes digging where she shouldn't...

Agatha is taken aback when she finds a new woman ensconced in the affections of her attractive bachelor neighbour, James Lacey. The beautiful Mary Fortune is superior in every way, especially when it comes to gardening - and with Carsely Garden Open Day looming, Agatha feels this deficiency acutely.

So when Mary is discovered murdered, buried upside down in a pot, Agatha seizes the moment and immediately starts yanking up village secrets by their roots and digging the dirt on the hapless victim. But Agatha has an awkward secret too . . .

This is the third in the Agatha Raisin series, which I have only discovered now!!  I think it would be a help if you read them in order, but not totally necessary.  Wasn't sure if I was keen on old Agatha, as she seems to be a grumpy old thing, despite only being in her 50's.  For those of you who enjoy the television series "Murder She Wrote," this is an English version.

Agatha's awkward secret is amusing to say the least and there is plenty of village action and trying to figure who did it will keep you guessing.  I never did guess. 

Stars out of 5 : 3.5 and easy read, nothing to taxing on the brain, very British.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"Empty Cradles," by Margaret Humphreys

"Empty Cradles," by Margaret Humphreys
Also published as Oranges and Sunshine.

In 1986 Margaret Humphreys, a Nottingham social worker, investigated a woman's claim that, aged four, she had been put on a boat to Australia by the British government. At first incredulous, Margaret discovered that this was just the tip of an enormous iceberg. Up to 150,000 children, some as young as three years old, had been deported from children's homes in Britain and shipped off to a 'new life' in distant parts of the Empire, right up until as recently as 1970.

Many were told that their parents were dead, and parents were told that their children had been adopted. In fact, for many children it was to be a life of horrendous physical and sexual abuse far away from everything they knew. Margaret and her team reunited thousands of families before it was too late, brought authorities to account, and worldwide attention to an outrageous miscarriage of justice.

I found out about this book via another blogger John D.  I read this book in a day as I couldn't put it down.  I not sure who I am most mad at the British Government, the Australian Government, or the various charities that were involved in this tragedy.  I was shocked at the attitude of all those in authority and how they tried to  sweep all of this under the carpet.

The BBC does not come out favourably in this book.  I still can't fathom how no one blew the whistle earlier on this. I cannot imagine how these poor children coped or survived the horrible living conditions and the abuse and even being told that they had no one left in the world that cared about them.  It just beggars belief.

I haven't seen either the movie "Oranges and Sunshine" or the television series "The Leaving of Liverpool."  Though I think it would be hard to watch I will see if I can borrow the movie from the library.

This is a book everyone should read as it heartbreaking to think this happened within our life time.

"A Home in Drayton Valley," by Kim Vogel Sawyer

"A Home in Drayton Valley," by Kim Vogel Sawyer
Hoping to escape the poor conditions of 1880 New York, Tarsie Raines and her friends Joss and Mary Brubacher and their two children set off for Kansas aboard an unusual wagon train. But when tragedy strikes on the trip across the prairie, Tarsie is thrown into a partnership with Joss that leaves them both questioning God and their plans for the future.

As their funds dwindle and nothing goes as planned, will they give up and go their separate ways? Or will God use their time in Drayton Valley in a way they never expected?
Loved this book.  It was a lovely book of courage, resilience and how love will win out in the end.  The main characters Tarsie and Joss were portrayed just how you would think they would be.  It again shows how despite being segregated  both coloured and white folks could get on with one another.  It also shows you if you truly believe in God he will look after you.

It also showed you resourceful people were in that day and age; and how they made do with very, very little.  Even how the children could entertain themselves for hours with only the basic of things, like sticks and stone.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5 really worth reading in my opinion.  Will make you grateful for what you have.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"All Things New," by Lynn Austin

"All Things New," by Lynn Austin
The war is over. The South has lost.

Josephine Weatherly struggles to pick up the pieces of her life when her family returns to their Virginia plantation. But the realities of life after the war cannot be denied: her home and land are but a shell of their previous grandeur; death has claimed her father and brother; and her remaining brother, Daniel, has returned home bitter and broken.

Her life of privilege, a long-ago dream.

Josephine soon realizes that life is now a matter of daily survival--and recognizes that Lizzie, as one of the few remaining servants, is the one she must rely on to teach her all she needs to know. Josephine's mother, too, vows to rebuild White Oak--but a bitter hatred fuels her.

Can hope--and a battered faith in God--survive amid the devastation?
I love this time period in history and all things Southern.  This book brings home the fact that most people would prefer things to stay the same throughout their lives, but due to unforeseen circumstances things change and people have to change with them.  This book tells of the struggles of changes to lives and how some people adapt easily and others not.
It also shows how if you were brought up a certain way to think certain things that it can take longer to change the way you feel and see things.  It is a sad book but has the odd ray of hope in it.  It also shows that if you have faith in God anything is possible.
Stars out of 5: 3.5 I found it a bit depressing this book, but very interesting also in the way certain people thought in that area of the country.  It's not a bad read, but not very jovial.
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Monday, October 15, 2012

"No Safe Harbor," by Elizabeth Ludwig

"No Safe Harbor," by Elizabeth Ludwig
New York City, 1897

She came to America searching for her brother. Instead all she's found is a web of danger.
Cara Hamilton had thought her brother to be dead. Now, clutching his letter, she leaves Ireland for America, desperate to find him. Her search leads her to a houseful of curious strangers, and one man who claims to be a friend--Rourke Walsh. Despite her brother's warning, Cara trusts Rourke, revealing her purpose in coming to New York.

She's then thrust into a world of subterfuge, veiled threats, and attempted murder, including political revolutionaries from the homeland out for revenge. Her questions guide her ever nearer to locating her brother--but they also bring her closer to destruction as those who want to kill him track her footsteps.
With her faith in tatters, all hope flees. Will her brother finally surface? Can he save Cara from the truth about Rourke... a man she's grown to love?
This book is very, very slow to get going.  I was bored but have to say by the time I got to the 200th page things started to pick up.  It got interesting and the pace of the story picked up, but who wants to read 200 pages before it gets interesting?  It's one of those books I won't remember reading but it wasn't horrible, just not a one for me. 
Stars out of 5 : 2.5 You may love this book, I wasn't too keen, sorry.
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Thursday, October 11, 2012

"Full Disclosure," by Dee Henderson

"Full Disclosure," by Dee Henderson
Ann Silver is a cop's cop. As the Midwest Homicide Investigator, she is called in to help local law enforcement on the worst of cases, looking for answers to murder. Hers is one of the region's most trusted investigative positions.

Paul Falcon is the FBI's top murder cop in the Midwest. If the victim carried a federal badge or had a security clearance, odds are good Paul and his team see the case file or work the murder.

Their lives intersect when Ann arrives to pass a case off her desk and onto his. A car wreck and a suspicious death offer a lead on a hired shooter he is tracking. Paul isn't expecting to meet someone, the kind that goes on the personal side of the ledger, but Ann Silver has his attention.

The better he gets to know her, the more Paul realizes her job barely scratches the surface of who she is. She knows spies and soldiers and U.S. Marshals, and has written books about them. She is friends with the former vice president. People with good reason to be cautious about who they let into their lives deeply trust her. Paul wonders just what secrets Ann is keeping, until she shows him the John Doe Killer case file, and he starts to realize just who this lady he is falling in love with really is....
I have to say I enjoyed this book.  It made me think and the story kept me interested.  I didn't figure out the "whodunit's" in the book which I always think is a good thing, though on the downside it was a bit of an anti-climax when everything came to a head at the end.  The ending wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be.
As lead characters Paul and Ann are a bit too good to be true, but are well matched for one another.  The book is a bit long at 473 pages, so it's not a read in a couple of days type of book!!!
Stars out of 5: 4.5 just wished the ending was better, but overall a great book with lots of action to keep you interested.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Monday, October 8, 2012

"The Gaither Homecoming Bible," Bill and Gloria Gaither, General Editors

"The Gaither Homecoming Bible," Bill and Gloria Gaither, General Editors
The Gaither Homecoming Bible will make the Bible come alive for those seeking truth in the twenty-first century, even for those who think they already know it. For years, Bill and Gloria Gaither have reached millions of people across generations with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Their music of joy, thanksgiving, and praise ushers people into the presence of God so that He can do His wondrous work in their lives. Featuring inspirational and insightful Scripture devotions by the Gaithers and other favorite Homecoming artists; articles on beloved hymns, gospel songs, and Gaither classics and the inspiration behind them; original poetry by Gloria Gaither to enlighten and inspire; and quotes by greats of the faith, reflecting on the importance of music in the life of believers, this beautiful Bible featuring the New King James Version® (NKJV) is one that readers will treasure for years to come.

Now don't panic or raise your eyes in wonder, I haven't read the Bible page to page.  Our instructions were:

Please note that this is a copy of the full Bible. Reading the entire Bible is not what we expect from you. Compare familiar verses with your favourite translation, read a portion of your favourite book, and / or check out the extras (Scripture devotions by the Gaithers and other favourite Homecoming artists, articles on beloved hymns, and the original poetry by Gloria Gaither). An overall impression of the format and structure of this particular Bible would be great!
So here are my impressions.  I have two old Bibles in the house and they are very small and feel very stuffy and dull compared to this one.  This book has a more modern feel and a few features that make reading the Bible even more of a pleasure.  They have a two-month (60 day) overview of the Scriptures, including Homecoming devotions for every day.  I found that very helpful.  They have a number of contributors writing words of wisdom through the book.
I personally found no need for hymns, but I am sure a lot of people would find this helpful  There are a number of beautiful poems written by Gloria Gaither throughout the book and illustrations provide light and colour to the passages.
I will not be awarding stars out of 5, as that would be disrespectful.  I would say this book would make a lovely present.  It is a little expensive at $44.99 US and it's not a book to carry around with you.  It's something that would be treasured and could be passed down to the next generation.

"Bible has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Thomas Nelson

"Dear Deb," by Margaret Terry

"Dear Deb, A Woman with Cancer, a Friend with Secrets and the Letters that became their Miracle," by Margaret Terry

"I want you to know that if my illness inspired you to write these stories, the cancer was worth it."—Deb

What stories could possibly make cancer worth it?

Stories that represent a miracle—a lifetime of miracles. Stories that changed the writer as she wrote them and stories that will touch the heart of the reader, one by one by one. Stories that are not just stories.

They started out as words of encouragement to a dying woman. They turned into a collection of sparkling and intimate moments, pulled from the past to finally be understood and shared with new meaning.

Story by story, letter by letter, Margaret Terry uncovered powerful pictures in her own life of the one truth that could help carry her friend Deb from this life to the next: God is at work.

Together, Deb and Margaret found renewed hope in all the ways God shows up right to the very end. Which is where they found the miracle they'd been praying for all along. In each other.

This book was interesting and an easy read, as it comprises of short sometimes only two page long stories of happenings in the authors life.   I must say the author has an incredible memory, and this made me think of certain events in my life.

I found the story told on page 190 the most profound one for me.  I also found the story called "The List," which starts on page 109 really, really interesting and that too spoke to me.

The one thing I was disappointed about with this book was that it was a one way "conversation," as they are all letters to Deb, we don't see any from Deb, which made it feel very one sided.

Stars out of 5 : 3 book was an easy read, but there was something missing for me.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Thomas Nelson

Sunday, September 23, 2012

"The Bridesmaid," by Beverly Lewis

"The Bridesmaid," by Beverly Lewis
Joanna Kurtz has made several trips to the altar, but never as a bride. The young Amishwoman is a closet writer whose stories aren't her only secret.

Eben Troyer hopes to make Joanna his bride--if he can ever leave his parents' farm in Shipshewana, Indiana. Yet Eben's hopes to build a life with Joanna hinge on his brother's return from the English world....
Have to say I enjoyed this book and read it over a couple of weeks, which is very unusual for me, as I normally read books in a day or two.  We were busy though, and I did find I was able to pick up where I left off no problem.  It did want me to spend more time reading it to see what happened next, again a good point.
It pushes the point that you have to believe in God's will and you will end up doing the right thing, but not before being tested first.
If you have read any of Beverly Lewis' books, you will recognise some of the names in the book as characters from other books.  The lead characters were perfect for one another and you only want the best for them both.
Stars out of 5 : 3.5  Funnily I am not a huge fan of Beverly Lewis books........I know a bit strange.  It was a good book and I am looking forward to the third in the series, "The Guardian" which will be published in March of 2013.
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Thursday, September 13, 2012

"With Every Letter" by Sarah Sundin

"With Every Letter" by Sarah Sundin

Lt. Mellie Blake is looking forward to beginning her training as a flight nurse. She is not looking forward to writing a letter to a man she's never met--even if it is anonymous and part of a morale-building program. Lt. Tom MacGilliver, an officer stationed in North Africa, welcomes the idea of an anonymous correspondence--he's been trying to escape his infamous name for years.

As their letters crisscross the Atlantic, Tom and Mellie develop a unique friendship despite not knowing the other's true identity. When both are transferred to Algeria, the two are poised to meet face-to-face for the first time. Will they overcome their fears and reveal who they are, or will their future be held hostage by their pasts?

Combining a flair for romance with excellent research and attention to detail, Sarah Sundin vividly brings to life the perilous challenges of WWII aviation, nursing--and true love. 

I am not a huge fan of World War 1 or 2 novels normally, so I must admit I was surprised I chose this book to review, but the excerpt for the book had me intrigued.  This book didn't hook me right away, but it peaked my interest, so that made me read more and I am so glad I did.

The two main characters were so different but so much the same in their own way.  I was glad that Sarah didn't throw the characters together right away, and built up their relationship and eventual meeting gradually throughout the book.  In fact even I wasn't sure what would happen at one point.

On a side note it was interesting to hear how the in flight nurses helped so much during the transportation of injured servicemen, and how much a boost they were for morale as well.

Stars out of 5 : 4 not my usual genre of book, but enjoyable all the same.  Not familiar with this author, but will look for more of her books.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

"Love's Reckoning," by Laura Frantz

"Love's Reckoning," by Laura Frantz

On a bitter December day in 1784, Silas Ballantyne arrives at the door of blacksmith Liege Lee in York County, Pennsylvania. Silas is determined to finish his apprenticeship quickly and move west. But because he is a fast worker and a superb craftsman, Liege endeavors to keep him in York by appealing to an old tradition: the apprentice shall marry one of his master's beautiful daughters.

Eden is as gentle and fresh as Elspeth is high-spirited and cunning. But are they truly who they appear to be? In a house laced with secrets, each sister seeks to secure her future. Which one will claim Silas's heart--and will he agree to Liege's arrangement?

In this sweeping family saga, one man's choices in love and work, in friends and enemies, set the stage for generations to come. This is the Ballantyne Legacy.

This is the first book in the Ballantyne Legacy and what a great book to start the series.  This story reminded me a bit of Cinderella but instead of two wicked step-sisters there was a wicked father and sister.  Silas is a great lead character as is Eden.  I have to say I fell in love with the name Eden; will have to drop hints at dd that if she ever has a daughter she should call her Eden!!!

Anyhow, the way the book finished left you wanting more, and there was a sneak peek of the next book in the series and have to say I was caught up in the story within the first few pages.  The down side, it will not be released until Fall of 2013.

Stars out of 5 : 5 just loved everything about this book.  Can't wait to read the next one in the series.  You should read this book, it's well worth your time.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

"A Hidden Truth," by Judith Miller

"A Hidden Truth," by Judith Miller

East Amana, Iowa

When Karlina Richter discovers that a new shepherd will be sent to her village, she fears she'll no longer be allowed to help her father with the sheep. She'll be relegated back to kitchen work, stuck inside all day. Her fears increase when the new shepherd shows little interest in the flock--or in divulging why he's suddenly been sent to East. Is he keeping secrets that will impact Karlina's family?

Dovie Cates visits the Amana Colonies to learn more about the place where her mother grew up. But when Dovie begins to ask questions about her mother's past, no one seems willing to reveal anything, so she decides to take matters into her own hands. Will the answers she finds spell disaster for her future plans and the longings of her heart?

I loved this book.  It's easy to get caught up in the story.  Love the two main characters and how different they are but how much they care about one another.  The secrets and the questions about the past do lead to interesting conclusions.

I had never heard of the Amana colonies until I started reading Judith's books.  For further info about them clink on the link.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5  Great book, well worth reading, will recommend it.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Friday, August 24, 2012

"Precisely Terminated," by Amanda L. Davis

"Precisely Terminated," by Amanda L. Davis

With microchips implanted in their skulls at birth, the slaves of Cantral and Cillineese have labored under the tyrannical rule of the Nobles and their computers for decades. Monica, a Noble who avoided the implanting and escaped a death sentence at the age of four, is now sixteen and is in hiding. She lives with the slaves inside the walls of the Cantral palace, pretending to be one of them while the slave council plots a way to use her chip-less state to destroy the all-powerful computers that strike down any hint of rebellion.
The Nobles hear of Monica’s survival and try to exterminate her before she ruins their upper-class utopia. The rebels send her to find a missing paper bearing instructions on how to shut down the computers that control the chips in Cillineese, a major city-state. The Nobles are alerted to the plan and prepare to seal Cillineese in a giant dome to gas the inhabitants, including Monica.
The fate of millions rides on Monica’s shoulders. As the only chip-less person in the world, she must find the paper, destroy the computers, and free Cillineese from the Nobles’ iron fist before they strike with the ultimate punishment—death for everyone inside the city walls.
First let me say this is not my normal genre of book.  Even the cover of the book is off putting if you ask me.  However I am so glad I decided to read this book, it was great, I couldn't put it down.  Honestly, I had to know what was going to happen next.  It hooked you from the first few pages.
Now reading what other people said, if you're a fan of The Hunger Games, you will love this book.  As I have never read nor seen The Hunger Games I have no idea.  Also someone said  "the story begins with gloom (which it does), which is perfect for the dystopian setting."  As you can see I have put a link for the word dystopian as I had no idea what it meant. 
I will say this book left me with a lot of questions unanswered; for instance - how did the Nobles come into power?  Where did the "Seens" come from?  What happened to our modern ways?
I am looking forward to the second book in the series, as the story left off with much more to tell.

Stars out of 5 : A resounding 5, loved the book despite it not being a book I would normally read.  I think it is aimed at young adults, but even though I am not young, I am an adult, so I felt qualified to read it!!!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Foundation Distributing, Inc and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from AMG Publishers

Monday, August 20, 2012

"The Haven," by Suzanne Woods Fisher

"The Haven," by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Spring brings new life, young love, and second chances to Stoney Ridge.
On a warm spring day, Sadie Lapp returns home to her quiet, unassertive life in Stoney Ridge after spending the winter in Ohio.
Gideon Smucker, an awkward schoolteacher, has been in love with Sadie since childhood and eagerly awaits her return. But does Sadie feel the same about him?
Will Stoltz, a charming and impetuous college student, has been banished for a semester and sent to babysit endangered peregrine falcons nesting at the Lapp farm. He'd rather be anywhere else . . . until he befriends Sadie.
As the hopes and ambitions of these three young people converge, life in Stoney Ridge may never be the same.

This is the second book in the Stoney Ridge Series, and it was really good.  The story kept going and kept you interested all the way through.  I thought the story was going one way and it went another.  I like how you read about situations that you can learn from and apply to your own life.

The lead characters of Sadie, Gideon, and Will were well thought out, but for me M.K. is the best character ever and I'm pleased to say the next book in the series will focus on her.  What she gets up too makes you laugh out loud and there is plenty more to tell as far as her character goes.

Stars out of 5 : 5 Great book, kept me wanting more and wanting to know what happens next.  Super read and would recommend it to you all.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Thursday, August 16, 2012

"To Love and Cherish," by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller

"To Love and Cherish," by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller
Melinda Colson has been waiting months for Evan, the assistant gamekeeper at the Bridal Veil Island resort, to propose. Without an offer of marriage, she must return to Cleveland with the family she works for as a lady's maid.

Evan isn't afraid of hard work, and he hopes to be promoted soon. He wants to marry Melinda--but not until he's sure he can support her and a family.

Letters strengthen their romance until a devastating storm strikes the island. With no word from Evan, Melinda knows she must journey back to Bridal Veil in search of her beloved.

But the hurricane isn't the last calamity to shake up Bridal Veil. Melinda finds a new job on the island, but still no offer of marriage comes her way. Has she given her heart to the wrong person? Will she ever find a man to love and cherish?

Confession first.  The only reason I got this book is I read the first one in the series; this one is the second.  It didn't really appeal too me, but I figured as I had read the first I should keep on with the series.  So I was in no rush to read this book, but when I picked it up I couldn't put it down, as I loved the book.

It has so many twists and turns in it, it keeps you wanting to read more and more.  Then you think you know "who dun it," only to discover you're wrong. 

One of the lessons to be learned in this book is whatever sort of relationship you are in, you both must make your wishes known what you want out of your lives together and what plans you have, so it doesn't cause confusion.  One thing that would have helped in Melinda's and Evan's relationship.

Stars out of 5 : 5  I really enjoyed this book despite me not being that keen on reading it!!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

"The Tinderbox," by Beverly Lewis

"The Tinderbox," by Beverly Lewis With her parents' twentieth anniversary approaching, eighteen-year-old Sylvia Miller find...