Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"At Bluebonnet Lake," by Amanda Cabot

"At Bluebonnet Lake," by Amanda Cabot

Her life is set to warp speed. His is slowing to a crawl. But love has its own timing.

Marketing maven Kate Sherwood's world is fast-paced, challenging, and always changing. The last thing she wants to do is grind to a halt at Rainbow's End, a dilapidated resort in the Texas Hill Country. Still, she cannot deny her ailing grandmother's request to visit the place where she and her deceased husband spent one glorious week fifty years ago. There, Kate meets Greg, who appears to be the resort's unassuming handyman. But there's more to Greg than meets the eye--billions more, in fact.

Kate isn't looking for romance, but she can't deny the sparks of attraction that fly every time she and Greg are together. Could there be a future there? Or will Kate's long-sought promotion take her back to the big city?

I think a lot of people will relate to this story, especially those with fast paced lives.  This book will slow down the pace and show you how living in a small town isn't a bad thing, but it can be good for the soul and the long as you don't drink the coffee at The Sit'n' need to read the book to get that joke!!

Greg's back story is very believable and one some people (not many though) will have experienced.  Kate's story also is one that you know could be true.  The one aspect I found charming was the romance between Sally, Kate's grandmother and Roy.  It is true the romantic bug can hit you at any age.

The one thing that is brought up a lot in the book is the Bluebonnet flower, the Texas state flower.  I did not know what it looked like so I googled it and here is a link to a photo of the flower.  I looks very similar to a lupin, which are lovely flowers.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5 An easy read which doesn't take much concentration.  No real surprises along the way.  A good book to while away a few hours.  Although I enjoyed all characters a lot, it was Greg that was my favourite as he had a good heart and soul.  It is well worth reading as it is a feel good book.

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

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

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

"Playing by Heart," by Anne Mateer

"Playing by Heart," by Anne Mateer
Lula Bowman has finally achieved her dream: a teaching position and a scholarship to continue her college education in mathematics. But then a shocking phone call from her sister, Jewel, changes everything.

With a heavy heart, Lula returns to her Oklahoma hometown to do right by her sister, but the only teaching job available in Dunn is combination music instructor/basketball coach. Lula doesn't even consider those real subjects!

Determined to prove herself, Lula commits to covering the job for the rest of the school year. Reluctantly, she turns to the boys' coach, Chet, to learn the newfangled game of basketball. Chet is handsome and single, but Lula has no plans to fall for a local boy. She's returning to college and her scholarship as soon as she gets Jewel back on her feet.

However, the more time she spends around Jewel's family, the girls' basketball team, music classes, and Chet, the more Lula comes to realize what she's given up in her single-minded pursuit of degree after degree. God is working on her heart, and her future is starting to look a lot different than she'd expected.

I enjoyed this book,  It was not a hard book to read and there was enough action in it to keep you interested.  I will say I am NOT a basketball fan, so there were a couple of paragraphs where I skimmed over.  However the way the author did write about the play by play were enough not to overwhelm you.  Also some of the true historical facts that were added into the story made it a bit more interesting.

All the characters were believable and all were described in such a way that you could visualize them as well.  I have been lucky to have not grown up in a time where war has been declared and have had close loved ones sign up.  I thought Chet's struggle with staying back to look after his mother and educate the youth of the town and not knowing whether or not he should sign up was also written well.  I am sure many men and now women would be able to relate with that struggle.

Stars out of 5 : 4 a pleasurable book to while away a couple of afternoons.  I enjoyed the message of God does things for a reason and sometimes it does take a while for you to realize that.  It's a feel good book that's not overly taxing on the brain.  Well worth reading.

"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".

Saturday, October 4, 2014

"The Storied Life of A.J. Firky," by Gabrielle Zevin

"The Storied Life of A.J. Firky," by Gabrielle Zevin

Hanging over the porch of the tiny New England bookstore called Island Books is a faded sign with the motto “No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World.” A.J. Fikry, the irascible owner, is about to discover just what that truly means.

A.J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, but large in weight. It’s that unexpected arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming him or for a determined sales rep named Amelia to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light. The wisdom of all those books again become the lifeblood of A.J.’s world and everything twists into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming.

As books go this wasn't the worst book I have ever read, nor was it the best.  It was entertaining and relatable.  Poor A.J. has probably hit about rock bottom, when there are a couple of changes in his life.  Neither of his doing, but they make A.J.'s life do a u-turn and things start getting better in his life.

I did love the way the author described the life on the Island and in particular the book store.  By the end of the book I was thinking I wouldn't mind owning and running a book store.  This book is a pretty easy read, I read it over a couple of days.  Maya is an exceptional character and the way the author described her, made her so real.  There were a couple of details that I didn't figure out right away, but they made sense when revealed.  Part of the ending of this story is sad, but another part brings to mind the words: "to come full circle."

Stars out of 5 : 4 Well worth reading.  This book is the selection for our November book club meeting.  Due to the price $15+ depending on where you purchase it, I borrowed it from the library and there was only the one copy, so had to get it while it was on the shelf.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

"The Book Thief," by Markus Zusak

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement. 

If I had to describe this book in one word it would be DEPRESSING.  Now that's not to say it was a terrible book; it's not a book to make you feel happy.  Of course the topic of this book is not one of joy.  Also it doesn't help the situation when you discover Death narrates this story as well.

I found the book to be a bit choppy, with the story jumping about a bit.  Liesel was a very strong character and despite Rosa's (Mama) way and language I ended up having a soft spot for her as well.  Rudy was a bright spot in the book and a true hero.  

This period of time was not one I hope is ever repeated again.  The way the book described the treatment of Jews, made me cringe.  I tend not to read or watch movies about the Holocaust so this is not my usual type of book.  It's our book club's selection for the month of October.  I would like to watch the movie though, as for once I think the movie may be better than the book.

Stars out of 5 : 3 Found it a bit hard to get into the book.  I didn't like the way Death narrated to story, and when I read a book I do it for pleasure.  There was no "pleasure" in this book due to the subject matter.

"The Tinderbox," by Beverly Lewis

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