Monday, November 28, 2011

The Daisy Field

The Daisy Field
Amy Sutton

Lily is a lonely elderly lady and Presley is a foster child in an unloving home. A love of flowers and music draws them together. But life either of their homes is not the best, nor are they in the best part of town.

This is a beautiful story about love, acceptance and miracles. The story caught my attention at the very beginning and kept me interested the entire time. I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. The characters are so likeable, especially Presley. I enjoyed the way the author highlighted the love between children and the elderly and the benefits to both age groups.
The ending was sweet and probably not realistic, but so fun. I liked this book so much that I recommended it to my book club.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Run Barefoot Run Healthy

Run Barefoot Run Healthy
Less Pain More Gain for Runners Over 30
Ashish Mukharji

I was over at Goodreads looking at the giveaways and saw this book. I had to enter. One of my book clubs had just finished reading Born to Run and since I'm a runner the subject is very fascinating.

The book is all about how to run barefoot and get rid of the countless injuries that seem to plague the running world. It's written clearly, in slightly larger print, and has tons of pictures and drawings.
The book has illustrations and references to back everything up. It's not confusing and actually very convincing. I would highly recommend it for any runner out there, especially those heading into their 30s. I'm not sure I'm ready to go barefoot, but will definitely be looking into some minimalist shoes when it's time to purchase new ones.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Call of the Christmas Pecan Tree

The Call of the Christmas Pecan Tree
Edna Stewart

A small town city council decides to cut down an old pecan tree. The town people are upset and set about trying to save the tree.

The book was written in a flowing way that reminded me of poetry. It jumps all over the place from topic to topic, person to person. The tree is given human characteristics, as well as other non-human things.
I'm not a huge poetry fan so that may be the reason I couldn't seem to follow the story. It jumped topic so often that I was left confused for the entire book. There are quite a few spelling and grammar errors that also make the story difficult to follow.

I received this book free of charge from Dorrance Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Shooting Star

Shooting Star
The First Attempt By A Woman To Reach Hawaii By Air
Richard DuRose

Mildred Doran wanted to be the first woman to reach Hawaii by air. A school teacher and an aviation enthusiast she decided to make the flight to Hawaii during the Dole race in 1927. The publicity was astounding, but the race and it's participants soon forgotten.
A sentence at the end of the book sums it up very well.
"No matter how spectacular, we do not remember a "Shooting Star" for long. Nor, has the public remembered Mildred Doran. I hope this book will make a difference.

I'm not a huge fan of history books so wasn't sure what to expect. The book was full of facts and details about the Dole race, but it didn't get bogged down or become boring. I appreciated the fact, that while written by her nephew, it was factual and not filled with sentiment and guessing.  My husband, a pilot, naturally enjoyed the book more than I did. But it was a good book and will make a great addition to our library.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wilderness Heart

Wilderness Heart
Jacqueline Hopkins

Lyn is a trail guide at her father's company. She takes hunting groups out into the woods and helps them bring home elk, bear, etc. Almost every trip she deals with male egos who don't want to admit that a female can be a good guide or hunter.
On her next trip she meets the most frustrating man to date. Nic's good looking and sets her heart racing, but he can't stand the sight of a female on a hunting trip. But his money can't be refunded and he's not really there to hunt anyway. So he grimaces and begins the hunt.
Lyn and Nic clash almost the entire time, but soon the sparks are more of the relationship type instead of the fighting type. Lyn feels that Nic wants to change who she is as a person and this causes conflict. It doesn't help when she finds out that he's lied to her about who he is and why he's on this hunt.

I liked reading this book for the most part. The pluses for the story - The story line was unique. the story moved quickly and the characters were interesting. The facts about the Idaho mountains made them come alive in my mind. The negatives - There were quite a few grammar and spelling issues and the dialogue between the characters seemed very stiff and forced at times. Somehow this made the story feel choppy. I also didn't care for the details during the sex scenes. It seemed a bit over the top.
In summery I liked the book, but I didn't love it. For a first book I think she did a great job. I will probably read another book by this author in hopes that her skills grow as she writes more.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Shadow In Serenity

Shadow In Serenity
Terri Blackstock

Carny grew up traveling with the circus. She learned at an early age to con people out of their money. But she grows tired of the games and running and decides to plant roots in a town named Serenity.
Logan comes to town spinning dreams and charming Serenity's citizens. But Carny can spot a con a mile away and isn't letting him steal from "her" town.

Change is hard. Both Logan and Carny find out that God can help and no matter what the fault He will forgive and make new. It was a new look at how God can take anyone and restore them in His image.

This book was different from anything I've ever read. It was real, refreshing and fun. The story line is unique and real. The characters, despite their faults, make you fall in love with them.
It's been a while since I've read anything by Terri Blackstock. But that is about to change. This book was not what I was expecting and the change was refreshing. Definitely a must read in the world of Christian fiction.

I received this book free of charge from Shelton Interactive in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, November 14, 2011

If We Dare to Dream

If We Dare to Dream
Collette Scott

This is one of the books in the blogger contest. Check out my Christmas contest page for instructions on how to win this and many other books.

This is book I in the Evans saga. It follows Jamie, the youngest and only girl in a family of five. A chance encounter with someone will change everyone's life forever. It's hard to imagine that just a small act of kindness or a short conversation can be someone's saving grace.
Jamie very briefly meets a man at a bar on her last night in town. She's headed out the next morning to begin her new life. He will be charged with murder the next day.

Collette Scott delivered another great book. This is her third book and I enjoyed it as much as the first two. I don't want to spoil it for anyone so I'll try to be vague. The main characters were fun and easy to like and relate to. The story flowed very smoothly and while I knew almost from the beginning who the murder was, it didn't detract from the book at all. In fact, I'm not even sure it was supposed to be a secret. The main part of the book for me was not trying to figure out who the killer was, but watching how the characters dealt with the issues they were handed.
 It was a great book and I can't wait to read the next book in the saga, due February 2012.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

5 Stars

Every time I read a book for a review I'm given the difficult task at the end of trying to decide what to say. Sometimes my feelings are strong enough that it's easy to find things to write about. But other times I'm trying very hard to find a way to let the reader know that I didn't care for the book without being hateful to the author. To me, that is the most difficult task. How do I give the reader a clear view about what the book is about without being inconsiderate of the time and effort that was put into writing the book. I might not like the book for various reasons, but it is very likely that there are other people who will love or at least like it. So my task is to state the reasons why I liked or disliked the book in a way that will allow others readers to make an educated decision for themselves without slandering the book or author.

My second difficult decision is about how to rate the book. Amazon has a rating system of 1-5. 
5 = loved the book, 
4 = liked it,
3 = it was ok, 
2 = didn't like it,
1 = hated it.
I have read books that I liked only because I could see that they were amazingly well written and could become a classic. But as enjoyment in the actual story - hated it. So what am I supposed to rate the story as? It was brilliant writing on the part of the author. But I hated the story as a personal opinion.
Or what about a story that is so poorly written that I cringe through out the entire book. But I enjoyed the story line so I plowed through because it was such a good "story"? A book I reviewed recently was well written and the premise for the story was great. But I hated the characters. They annoyed me to death. The book was labeled as a certain genre and yet was not.  So I liked the book okay, but certainly didn't love it. It was so hard to pick a rating. If I was rating on how well the book was written as far as writing style or editing = five stars. If I was rating on how the book captured my attention = two stars. 

And what about a genre that I don't like? The book can be amazing, but because I dislike the topic my rating would actually be low. So should I warn the authors about this before? Or is that a chance they take when they send out reviews?

I try to gauge how I feel as I finish each chapter. And then I write my review based on my impressions as I read the book. I also try to give it a higher review for quality writing despite my like or dislike of the genre. But I'm not sure if this is what Amazon had in mind.

Just some thoughts from the mind of a reviewer. My guess is we all struggle with this from time to time. At least I hope so. =)

Love on the Line

Love on the Line
Deeanne Gist

Georgie is a telephone operator. She's proud of the fact that she has a job and a home and doesn't have to be married. She can do ANYTHING a man can do.
A local gang is getting out of hand and Luke is sent in to act as a telephone man while he tries to infiltrate the gang.
Georgie doesn't take well to being told what to do and doesn't appreciate a man in her business.

The book was well written and had quite a few interesting details about the job of a telephone operator during that era. The characters were well developed and the story line flowed smoothly.
I think my main complaint would be a personal opinion. I didn't care for the way Georgie's obsession with birds seemed to color her view of literally everything. She was unthinking and unkind at times in defense of her birds. It was a bit of a surprise to dislike the main characters. I would have thought the author would want everyone to like them and I was left with a bad first impression of Luke and never really cared for Georgie. The story changed a bit towards the end. The pace sped up and became more interesting and the main characters lost a bit of their obsessions.
I think the other thing that surprised me was that this book was labeled as Christian fiction. I saw very little to make me think it was Christian. A few things were mentioned, but nothing like I would expect from a Christian author.

I received this book free of charge from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

An Amish Wedding

An Amish Wedding
Kelly Long
Kathleen Fuller
Beth Wiseman

This is a novella by three different authors; all set in the same Amish town. I'll let you read the book descriptions for each story since it's three stories instead of one. But each story is sweet and involves a couple in the Amish community. It's romantic, faith-filled and simple.

I enjoyed the book. The stories were simple and had a very predictable outcome. But each story taught a lesson about life, such as patience, faith and love. Anyone who enjoys Christian fiction or Amish fiction will enjoy reading these stories.

I received this book free of charge from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest opinion.


Melissa Cameron

Avery is a young woman working for a newspaper. She wants to get married, settle down and buy a house. But her boyfriend of eight years doesn't want to be "tied down". So she buys the house herself and now has to decide whether Ethan is worth the time or if she should move on. But it really isn't as simple as she thought it would be. Envy isn't pretty!
Envy is a very fast paced, on the edge of your seats type of book. Without giving anything away - it has a bit of mystery or intrigue woven into a romance story. It certainly isn't your typical chick lit.
I enjoyed the book and couldn't put it down once I started. There were a couple of times that I wished the characters could have been more developed or the story more clear. It mentions Avery's past very vaguely and I wondered if it was just a mention or perhaps I should have already known about it because of a previous book. But all in all it was a great book and I'll be checking out the other books by this author.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mom's on the Roof

Mom's on the Roof and I can't Get Her Down
Cynthia Meyers-Hanson

This is one of the books in the blogger contest. Check out my Christmas contest page for instructions on how to win this and many other books.

This book is the narrative of the year that the author dealt with her mother dying of cancer, her father's tragic death, and a cancer scare herself. She honestly deals with the the gritty details and emotions that go with losing a parent. She talks about how it isn't easy to lose your parent, regardless of whether it was a long process or happens unexpectedly.

This book is sadly a reality that quite a few of us will face. As we age our parents are aging too. The author gives an inside view into what it's like to be the caregiver and child left behind. And also how it affects the family members.
I received this book free of charge in exchange for a review.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

a wedding invitation

a wedding invitation
Alice J. Wisler

Samantha receives a wedding invitation in the mail from an old college roommate. But she loses the part of the invitation and attends the wrong wedding. This sets in motion a chain of events that will change her entire life.

The story moves between past and present as the author tries to tell Samantha's story and explain who she is today. The story moved very, very slowly for me and never caught my interest. It will appeal to someone who enjoys a good southern book that moves slowly along. I just didn't enjoy the slow pace and confusing switch backs.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Legends of Tsalagee

Legends of Tsalagee
Phil Truman

Two legends exist in a small Oklahoma town. The first is of a big foot type character called the Hill Man. The second is about a buried treasure worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The book tells the story of these legends and how the local residents deal with intruders in their town.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised. It's humorous and flows well. It was very easy to read and kept my attention. If comparing with another author, I think I would compare it to one of F. Paul Wilson's Repairman Jack books with a bit more country and humor. I will definitely be reading more by Phil Truman.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Spy at Home

A Spy at Home
Joseph Rinaldo

Written in first person, the book appears to be an autobiography of a retired CIA agent. He begins his story by telling how he came into a fortune of approx. 10 million dollars. He lives with his wife and a son with Downs Syndrome.

The story was well written and I liked the way the author kept the feel of an autobiography through out the book. The son with Downs Syndrome was portrayed very accurately, I felt. The details seemed correct and the story was fun to read, even when the subject matter was a little heavy.
This isn't your typical spy novel, but it is just as good.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Rub-a-Dub-Dub, There's a Monkey in Our Tub!
Heather R. Wallace
This is a cute little story about a monkey that just appeared in a family's bathtub. 
It's a short story that kept my children interested the entire time. Even though the pictures were black and white on my kindle they loved it. My son is just learning to read and had fun going back later to read the story to himself.

I think kids would enjoy this even more if it were a book with colored pictures that they could hold themselves (since I'm reluctant to let my 2 yr old handle my Kindle).
Cute little book that I would definitely recommend for moms who want something to entertain their kids during wait times.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

A Psalm-Shaped Life

A Psalm-Shaped Life
H. Mark Abbott

This book takes the Psalms to a whole new level. Ever think the words are beautiful, but just aren't sure where to go from there? Ever want to dig deeper into the word? The book takes the Psalms and makes them come alive. It takes a look at the book from the angles of hope, wisdom, praise and more.

This was a well written book. Each chapter is clear and inspiring. It takes reading the Bible to a deeper place and helped me to look at things from a different perspective.

I received this book free of charge from WIPF in exchange for my honest review.