Saturday, January 19, 2019

Clarissa's Conflict

My Heart Belongs in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Clarissa's Conflict
Murray Pura
Clarissa lives the life of a respectable daughter in historical Gettysburg. But at night she helps lead people through a section of the underground railroad. During her travels she meets a man named Liberty who wears a hood to conceal his identity. During the day she courts the attention of a scholar named Kyle that her parents approve of for their only child. 

I was so excited to get this book to review. I love reading historical fiction, especially stories about the underground railroad. I've really enjoyed the other books in this series. The story was well written, flowed well, and really highlighted some of the intense moments during that time period. The heroine though was enough to make me want to quit reading. She was spoiled, way too forward for the time period, and hateful. The seemingly two sides of her personality didn't mesh well at all. She professed to be a Christian, but repeatedly flew off into a temper, was extremely judgmental and was always jumping to erroneous conclusions, she was loose with her affections, repeatedly disobeyed her parents, and wasn't very kind. I read a lot of historical fiction and just didn't feel like she was a true representation of a female for that time period. I have no idea why a guy would even be interested. Because of this, I found the main male character to be weak and spineless, even when you find out his "secret" that wasn't so secret. I would have been ok if she had ever come to realize her flaws and actively worked to correct them.  But she blamed it all on her red hair and constantly made excuses for her behavior. Even when she did apologize, she didn't seem sincere. As a parent, I found her in serious need of discipline.
In conclusion, good story base, but not no endearing or redeeming main characters.

I received a copy of this book from Barbour Publishing. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Christmas Heirloom

The Christmas Heirloom
Kristi Hunter, Karen Witemeyer, Sarah Loudin Thomas, Becky Wade
The story begins with a broach that will be passed down to the next female in the family. The broach is considered to be of some value, but will can be sold due to the sentimental value that each woman places on it. As each woman navigates love, marriage, parenting, and trials that life brings, she holds on to the stories and lessons that are passed down from each previous generation.

I love novellas. And I love collections that tie together while written by different authors. So when I saw the author lineup (some of my favorite authors), I knew I had to read this book. It definitely didn't disappoint. Each author took the story of a broach and told how it was passed down to a female in the next generation. The authors told the part of the story that fit the time period they most often write about. Each story carries on from the last one, but is written in the authors own style. These are some big names in Christian fiction and to have them all collaborate on a beautiful Christmas story was amazing. If you haven't read some of these authors, this book will give you a glimpse into the time period they typically write in and their writing style. Loved this book and will be snagging a paper copy so I can reread it in the future.

I received a copy of this book. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Romancing the Bride

Romancing the Bride
Melissa Jagears
Annie needs to keep the ranch in the family. But after her husband passed away, she's been struggling to manage. Her son and daughter are helping, but they are just kids. She needs to keep the ranch to pass on to her children, but she's also tied to the ranch because of the little graveyard that holds her babies and late husband. She can't lose that connection with them. So she proposes a crazy idea to the local sheriff, Jacob. Marry her for her land. Jacob is torn. He plans to buy a farm or ranch, but all of the good ones are gone. But marry a woman he doesn't know just for her land?

This isn't just a sweet romance that's over in a couple of hours. It has depth, suspense, drama, and a love story that goes beyond just the two main characters. The author did a great job of setting up the plot so the reader was engaged and the characters had depth. I think my favorite character was actually one of the secondary characters, so I look forward to hopefully seeing her in another book. If you enjoy historical fiction that has sustenance and makes you think, then you'll love this book. 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Code of Valor

Code of Valor
Blue Justice #3
Lynette Eason
Brady, a detective, is in serious need of a vacation. So he heads to a friend's cabin to spend some relaxing time at the lake. But when he hears a woman scream and sees an accident occur, he can't help, but rush to her rescue. What follows is definitely not relaxing or vacation like. But Brady St. John can't turn away from a person in need. 

The book started off with a huge bang and didn't let up the entire time. The characters were relatable, engaging, and had depth. The chemistry between the two main characters was great and fit well with the situation. I appreciated how the author wove subtle spiritual thoughts through the book without it becoming too strong or disturbing the flow of the plot. Somehow I missed getting my hands on the first two books of this series and so was a little worried that I would be lost coming into the middle. But that wasn't the case at all. While it was clear that there was a backstory to some of the secondary characters, it only added interest and depth, instead of losing me or distracting me. I've enjoyed everything I've read by this author and I think her books get better the more she writes. If you enjoy suspense, drama, and a little bit of clean romance then make sure you grab this book. But make sure you get the others in the series as well. 

I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Friday, January 11, 2019

I'm back. . .Sorta!

Hello Everyone!

Not sure if I still even have blog followers left. I've been gone for almost a year. This last year I became sick and was diagnosed with a chronic illness. I had to eliminate quite a few things from my life while I struggled with being sick and being a wife and mom. Unfortunately reading was at a minimum. I read less than half the usual amount of books per year. It saddened me and I really missed blogging, books, and the publishing world.

But while the illness is chronic and I definitely won't be able to return to the volume that I previously read or blogged about, I am back to reading and blogging - hopefully. I will be trying to play catch up with some books I was able to read this last year, as well as add more current books.

So hello again!!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Book decisions

What to do with those books you will never read again

Donate them – When most people think about getting rid of any unwanted items that they no longer need, the first place they think of is St Vincent de Paul or the Salvation Army. And while both of these places are great, and do some excellent work for the community, there are plenty of other places that accept second-hand goods and the donations go to some very good causes. Organisations such as the Aboriginal Literacy Foundation, which helps indigenous children gain access to education through literacy, and Books for Lesotho, which takes the donated books over to students in Southern Africa are great examples of other places that are always accepting donations. These organisations, and many others like them are great causes to get behind, and you’ll feel like you’re really making a difference by giving them your unwanted books. Local libraries are also another great place to donate to, and they are often on the lookout for new and different books to add to their collections.

Give to a Community Street Library – In most big cities and suburban areas, you may stumble across little wooden houses full of books out the front a local school or community centre. These little houses are known as community or street libraries, and they allow the community to engage with each other through the donating and swapping of books. Most of them have a clear glass window at front and a door that opens and closes to allow people to come and go with ease, as well as being able to protect the books from the weather and any other external forces. As mentioned, you can leave your own books in the library, or you can take a book with you. This is a great way to get rid of your old books that you no longer want and gives others who may not be able to afford new books the opportunity to take them for free. The Street Library website shows you the locations of some of the community libraries in your local area, so you know where to go to donate.   

Recycle them – Because books are made from paper, it is easy for them to be broken down and made into new items of a similar fashion and even be printed on again. Most old books are made from high-quality paper, and not made of mixed materials like that of a magazine or a catalogue. According to Planet Ark, a non-for-profit environmental foundation in Australia, paper can be recycled up to 8 times, and it can be repurposed into things like packaging, toilet rolls, and egg cartons, all of which can still be broken down fairly easy over time, and even reused again another time. There are plenty of recycling centres throughout most major cities in Australia that accept donations like books for recycling which are supported by Planet Ark. This is another great way of repurposing old and unwanted books to be used in a more positive an environmentally conscious way. They also sell the books that are in better condition at some of their repurposing centres, with the profits going to local charities and hospitals.

Sell them – If you’re a little bit strapped for cash, another thing you can do with your old books is to sell them. Bountye is a website that helps you find and sell second-hand and vintage goods online from multiple third-party websites. We live in an age where we are concerned with the mass-production of objects, we need to find solutions to try and reduce our carbon footprint significantly in order to continue to live happy and healthy lives. We’re always being told to reduce, reuse and recycle, and Bountye works hand in hand with this idea by repurposing old and unwanted items. At Bountye they “think buying second-hand stuff should be as easy as buying something new” and this is a great idea because if you don’t want something anymore, someone else may. They also have an app available on the App Store and Google Play, so you can do your buying and selling on the go.

Repurpose them - Although it goes against the grain for most people to defile an old and beloved book, there are many ways in which you can recycle your old and unwanted books and turn them into something completely different. One ever-popular project that uses an old book is the ‘book-safe’, in which you glue the pages of your book together and then hollow out the middle of it to use as a safe, which can store some of your valuables and hide them from unsuspecting guests in plain sight. Using an old hardcover book, you can also make some interesting bookmarks. All you have to do is cut off the spine of an old hardcover book and pierce a hole in one of the ends for a ribbon or some string, and you have a lovely custom-made bookmark. Also, this activity doesn’t destroy your book too much, so you won’t feel as guilty about doing this project compared to some of the others out there that use books. In saying that, both projects are a great way to repurpose the books that you once loved and allow them to continue to be used in a positive way in your home.  

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Spiritual Gifts Handbook

The Spiritual Gifts Handbook
Using Your Gifts to Build the Kingdom
Randy Clark and Mary Healy
Two authors teamed up to bring an interesting approach tothe gifts of the spirit. Mr. Clark is an international healing minister and Ms. Healy is a Catholic Bible scholar. Each author's voice is heard throughout the book with their vision for what using your spiritual gift looks like.

The book was not what I had been hoping for. It definitely leaned in the speaking in tongues, Pentecostal direction. I was hoping for a look at how I could apply the spiritual gifts that I'd been given to my life. But the book felt more like a theology text book that a layman's handbook. I agree that our churches need more of an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and that the spiritual gifts are an absolute necessity in today's work of reaching souls. However, I'm not sure that I agree with a lot of what the authors chose to focus on. It had an almost spiritualistic slant that I found a bit different.
Some of the stories were interesting, but overall, I found the book too dry and slightly boring with a touch of condescending. This is definitely not what the other reviewers are saying, so it was clearly just my opinion. So if you want to dig deeper into the Bible and want another person's take on spiritual gits, this might interest you.

I received a copy of this book from Chosen. All thoughts expressed are my own.