Thursday, September 20, 2012

Starring Me

Starring Me
Krista McGee

Kara has always wanted to act. She's been in a few plays and on one reality show, but when the opportunity to have her own show comes up she jumps at the chance.
She will be co-hosting with an unknown celebrity and the auditions are for an entire month.
Her friends are Christian and she arrives at the audition home to find the home mother is also Christian. It almost feels like God is chasing her.

I'd already reviewed the first book in this series so I wanted to check this one out as well. I think I like this one even better. It's definitely a book geared towards teens, but is still entertaining and fun for adults. The Christian message, particularly the message of salvation, are very prominent in this book. This is something that I appreciated, but I can see secular readers not liking it. 
Definitely a book I would let my daughter read.

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

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Trouble with Cowboys

The Trouble with Cowboys
A Big Sky Romance
Denise Hunter

Annie has been burned by cowboys in her past. So she refuses to fall in love with one. But Dylan needs her help with his horse and she needs the money. It should be easy to do the job and leave without becoming involved with the cowboy. But taking care of her sister and nephew adds complications to the story and before she knows it, Annie is fighting her attraction to a cowboy named Dylan.

I really enjoyed this story. It had elements of drama, romance and comedy. The characters were real and the believable. I've read one of the other books in the Big Sky Romance series and this one is the better of the two. I will definitely be going back to read the book that I missed.

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

A Plain & Simple Heart

A Plain & Simple Heart
Lori Copeland
Virginia Smith

Rebecca thinks she's in love. She hasn't seen her true love in four years, but that isn't stopping her from going to find him. There are several problems with this scenario though. Rebecca is Amish and her "boyfriend" is not. Rebecca has never traveled before and is determinded to find him alone.
Once she reaches the small town where Jesse, the love of her life, was last seen she begins to get in trouble. Nothing can prepare her for life outside of the Amish community, but God is leading her the entire time.

I really enjoyed this story. The characters were funny and engaging and it was nice to have a twist to the typical Amish stories. A small spoiler alert - All of the Amish stories I've read so far have a character that is questioning their beliefs, but ends up staying Amish/Mennonite. So it was nice to see a couple of the characters make the decision that they could still be a Christian and not be Amish. It was a very refreshing change for me.

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

Daring Greatly

Daring Greatly
How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms
 the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
Brene Brown

Every single day we face the decision to be vulnerable or dare greatly. Brown uses the book as a medium to explain how we can take shame and vulnerability and exchange them for meaning and purpose in our lives. There aren't really any step-by-step instructions so much as a thought process that needs to be changed in the way we think and approach circumstances.

The book is going to really fly off the shelves for those who have a need for change in their lives or enjoy reading self-help books. It is a dense book full of information, stories and examples. But for someone who is really needing to hear this message it will be an easy and informative read.

Daring Greatly on BlogHer.

I received this book free of charge from BlogHer and was compensated for my honest review.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Make Weight Loss Last

Make Weight Loss Last
Deborah Kesten
Larry Scherwitz

Diets don't work. Finding out why you are over weight and changing your patterns works. An entire lifestyle change is necessary for weight loss to last. This is the idea of this book. The authors take several different eating styles that work against us in the weight control issue and address why they are making us over eat, how to get rid of them, and how to effectively change our entire lifestyle to keep the weight from coming back.

This certainly isn't a fun, entertaining book. But it's packed with useful information about how to lose the weight and keep it off permanently. While it took me a while to get through the book because it had so much information in it, I was glad that I made the effort. If you've ever dieted and then gained even a portion of the weight back, than this book is for you. If you've never dieted, but would like to lose some weight, this book is also for you. It might seem like a new approach, but it's what we should have been doing all along.

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

Impossible to Resist

Impossible to Resist
Janice Maynard

Dr. Jacob Wolff is wealthy and reclusive. So when a young actress comes to his office and asks him to be her personal doctor and stand-in boyfriend, he's a bit reluctant to agree. Ariel needs a fake boyfriend. Preferably one who is a doctor. She has something making her ill. If Dr. Wolff is her boyfriend and secretly treating her, no one will realize she's sick and she can continue her job without danger of losing it. It's the perfect plan; or so she thinks.

The premise for this story was amusing. The story flowed smoothly enough. But I couldn't relate to any of the characters. Ariel's personality was all across the board and the switches felt abrupt. Jacob was nice enough, but almost too nice. He was boring. This is a fast, light read. But it certainly isn't anything that will grip or enthrall you.

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

Friday, September 7, 2012

More Than He Expected

More Than He Expected
Andrea Laurence

Alex and Gwen spend a holiday together. When the holiday ends, they mutually go separate ways. Neither of them are in the market for a serious relationship. But the next time Alex sees her, she's pregnant and says she's taking a man break. The baby might not be Alex's baby, but he's seeing their future and it's making him reconsider his no relationship rule.

I could not get into this book. The characters were weak and the plot was non-existent. Predictability is expected in most romance novels. But they don't have to be boring. A writer can pull off weak characters if the plot is intricate and enthralling. A boring plot can be pulled off if the characters are engaging and entertaining. I tried, but just couldn't find any redemptive qualities in either. I hate to write bad reviews, because I know how much time and effort went into getting a book to production. But this book needs a bit more entertainment value before hitting the shelves.

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

Thursday, September 6, 2012

School Struggles Give Away

Give Away for School Struggles
School Struggles: A Guide to Your Shut-Down Learner's Success

About the author:
Dr.  Richard Selznick is a psychologist, nationally certified school psychologist, graduate school professor, university professor of pediatrics and school consultant. The author of two books, The Shut-Down Learner: Helping Your Academically Discouraged Child   and the recently published School Struggles: A Guide To Your Shut-Down Learner’s Success, he has presented to parents and educators internationally, as far as Dubai and Abu Dhabi and throughout the United States .  A down-to-earth presenter who looks to discuss difficult topics in non-jargon terms, Dr. Selznick tries to present complex issues in down-to earth terms. 

Among the many topics that he presents, some of the more popular include:  “Relationship:  The Key Variable in School Struggling,”  “Myths & Realities of Dyslexia,”  “Understanding the Shut-Down Learner Formula,” “Stages of Reading Development:  Signposts That Guide Instruction,”  “Why’s Everyone Always Pickin’ On Me:  Myths & Realties of Bullying,” “We Keep Telling Him You Have to Get Organized:  Executive Function Deficits,” “Secrets of Parenting Success,” and  “Regaining Control of the Ship.”

 Dr. Selznick is the Director of the Cooper Learning Center, a Division of the Department of Pediatrics, of Cooper University Hospital.   

About the book: (my review)
Learning issues in school are a frequent concern for parents, teachers, and students. The author of The Shut-Down Learner, takes the reader through the different issues that might be hindering your child scholastically. The section begins with an illustration on the issue at hand (ie: ADHD). There is take-away point that summarizes and then a "try this" section that gives practical advice on how to work with the particular issue.

I can definitely see this book being a huge help to a parent or teacher who has a child with one of these issues. Since the author tackles a wide range of issues that include social, organizational and reading this is a book that most parents will benefit from reading. The writing style makes this book easy to read and process, something that is greatly appreciated in an informative book of this nature.



1. Do you have children in school? If so, what grades are they in?
2. The No Child Left Behind Act, Won't Back Down (the new movie coming out this month), and underpaid teachers are hot topics right now. Are you concerned with the level of instruction your child
 is receiving at their school?
3. Do you think children should be bringing homework home with them at night?

For an extra entry, please head over to the authors' facebook page (here) and like them. Leave a separate comment on this blog letting us know.

Trust Your Eyes

Trust Your Eyes
Linwood Barclay

Ray returns to his parents home after the death of his father to take care of the estate. But there is a small wrinkle in his plans. His brother, Thomas, is schizophrenic and rarely leaves home. He's obsessed with maps and spends most of his days on the computer looking at cities to learn their streets and roads.
When Thomas thinks he sees evidence of a murder, he sends his brother Ray on a chase across the country. Both brothers are soon in way over their heads.

Wow! This book is gripping, thrilling, and captivating. It's been a while since I've enjoyed a thriller this much. The characters have depth and the plot is multifaceted and riveting. The author was able to create a story that will be entertaining to more than one specific group. I felt confident giving this book to my husband to enjoy, even though our tastes in books rarely overlap. I'm going to be checking out other books by this author, for sure.
Check out BlogHer for additional reviews and book info. here.

I received this book free of charge from BlogHer and was compensated for my honest review.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Over The Edge

Over The Edge
The Kincaid Brides Book 3
Mary Connealy

Seth Kincaid is the final brother to get married. Book two ends with him finding out he's married. The problem is that he doesn't remember getting married or anything about his wife.
She arrives on a stage coach amid bullets and blood. She's not very happy with her husband and isn't sure she really wants to be married to him. Add two additional "surprise" people and this story becomes a bit complicated.

This was my favorite book in the series. I'll admit, Julia still annoys me. But she plays only a minor part and I really enjoyed the rest of the book. The story flows well and has romance, drama and God all under one cover. Everything ties up nicely, but there was a tiny opening for another story later if the author chooses to add to the series. I'll definitely be checking out the author's other books.

If you want to read my other reviews for this series here they are. Book 1 and Book 2.

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