Monday, December 31, 2012

A Christmas Journey Home

A Christmas Journey Home
Kathi Macias

 Two stories run parallel until they come together to form a beautiful modern day Christmas story. Isabella follows her husband to the US in hopes of a better life than the one they were having in Mexico. But money constraints and evil people make their journey a constant test of their faith.
Miriam lost her husband in the war against drugs on the border of Mexico and the US. She now hates God and everyone of Mexican descent. 

Christmas Journey is a sad and realistic story. But it ends with faith, love and hope. The author did a great job of creating the characters and guiding the reader to the emotions she wanted for the story. The imagery was good and the plot, while probably predictable, was heartwarming.
I will definitely be reading more by this author.

I received this book from a Book Club Network contest.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Asleep Without Dreaming

Asleep Without Dreaming
Barbara Abate

Willa is dying to get out of the tiny town she grew up in. So when her mother announces they are leaving she is thrilled. But complications land them in another small town while they wait for a chance to leave again. Willa's mom Stella takes a job at a motel to provide them with a place to stay. But this small town has secrets. Arsonists and crazy people to name just a few.

This was a very difficult book for me to review. If I was going to rate the book on writing style, graphic imagery, and plot I would give it a 5 star rating. The author has some definite talent when it comes to portraying emotions and imagery. Instead of being told it was dark outside, I sensed the darkness and it felt heavy and thick. Definitely an author to keep on the favorites list.
But if I was going to rate the book on personal taste I would give this book a 2 or 3 stars. The story was dark and at times could tilt towards depressing. I hated the mother (if you could even call her that) and felt some serious frustration. It was very well written, but the story just was not my style.

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


Book give-away

I've read this book and I'm excited that I can share it with my readers.
Please leave a comment on this post or the review post and I will randomly pick a winner on Friday, January 25th.
Spy in a Little Black Dress
by Maxine Kenneth

(Just an FYI - this is an ARC)

1. Please leave your name and an email address I can reach you at. You will not be entered into the drawing if I have no way of contacting you. 
2. If you do not respond to my email announcing you have won by one week, I will pick another winner and you will forfeit the book.
3. I can only mail this book in the US. Sorry!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Amazing Animals

Amazing Animals by Design
Debra Haagen

John and Sarah visit the zoo with their parents and learn all about the differences in the animals.
God designed each one to fit into it's special environment and thrive.
He designed us extra special as well. 

I read this to my six and four year old children. My four year old seemed a bit antsy, but said that she really liked the story. My six year old said it was awesome and asked me to read it again.
I have an older Kindle so all of the pictures were black and white. But this didn't seem to bother the kids at all. I liked the message of the story, but most of all, I liked how the kids took the message to heart and talked about it.

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

Waiting for Morning

Waiting for Morning
The Brides of Last Chance Ranch Book 2
Margaret Brownley

Molly feels responsible for her brother's spinal injury and will do anything to keep him safe and provided for. She accepts a position as an heiress to a cattle ranch in hopes that it provides some security in their lives and gives them the home they've always wanted.

I've read the previous book in this series (see review) and enjoyed the premise so much that I thought I'd try this one as well. It didn't disappoint. The characters are still fun and enjoyable. The plot is a great one and leads to some hilarious situations. My favorite character was the doctor and the stories of his practice. I wouldn't mind a spin off with the doctor and his wife after their marriage.
I am definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.

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

Courting Cate

Courting Cate
The Courtships of Lancaster County Book 1
Leslie Gould

Cate is known for her sharp tongue and prickly personality. Her sister Betsy is all sugar and spice. Cate has no intention of getting married, but Betsy has quite a few men she is interested in. Imagine their surprise and horror when their father announces that Cate must marry before Betsy can. The chaos that ensues is a mess, but God can straighten even the worst mistakes out into something beautiful.

As I've mentioned before, I'm not a huge fan of Amish fiction. But this was a really fun book. The couples featured in the book were fun and their characters were realistic. There were several annoying people, but they didn't over power the story. The emphasis on God and our relationship to Him was well done.

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

Nine Hills to Nambonkaha

Nine Hills to Nambonkaha
Two Years in the Heart of an African Village
Sarah Erdman

Sarah, the author, spends two years as a Peace Corps volunteer trying to educate the people of Nambonkaha on health and medicine. This book is the story of her time spent there and the lives of the friends she made during her stay.

The story was well written and the characters were fun. The book definitely doesn't read as fiction. It's a true account of the life in this African village. This might be why I had such a hard time getting into this book. If it had been told more in story form or had a beginning and end I might not have gotten bogged down. As it was, it was over 300 pages of things the author notices about the village and it's inhabitants. My guess is this would be an amazing book for those who enjoy true stories and history. I just couldn't get into it myself.

The Vow

The Vow
The True Events That Inspired the Movie
Kim & Krickitt Carpenter
with Dana Wiklerson

Two months after their wedding Kim and Krickett are in a horrible car accident. Both survive, but Krickett can't remember her husband at all. Her memory is completely erased for the entire time they knew each other. So Kim begins the daunting task of not only helping Krickett heal, but also helping her fall in love with him again.

The authors decided to write the book themselves so that they could ensure that all of the details were correct. I have not watched the movie yet so was able to read the book without any other pictures or scenes in mind. It was very simple and straightforward writing, but it definitely got across the story and message they intended. I enjoyed it and look forward to watching the movie.

Mommy Midwife

Mommy Midwife
Cassie Miles

One night about eight months ago a tragedy sent Olivia into Troy's arms. Now she is pregnant and determined to raise her little one on her own. She has a great job as a midwife and doesn't need a man complicating things. But when her life is threatened she agrees to let him guard her. What can be safer than having a marine close by.

I liked the suspense in the book. The author did a great job of creating tension and drama. I figured out who the main antagonist was almost right away, but not the motive. It was a fun little read.

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

My Not So Ordinary Life

My Not So Ordinary Life
Christine Rice

A memoir about the early life of the author that takes the reader through childhood into early adulthood. The author gives an account of the struggles in school and the struggles with completing school and making something of herself.

Despite the title I felt this book was just another account of a person finding themselves. The author didn't seem to go into a lot of details or expound on anything enough to keep me interested. It was a bit dry and seemed to be more like a list of events and feelings than a story. I'm not sure if I'm just more into thrilling fiction or this will be truly uninteresting to everyone. If you enjoy memoirs than this might be worth your time. But it definitely wasn't something I'd want to try again.

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

Footprints in the Sand

Footprints in the Sand
A Piper Donovan Mystery
Book 3
Mary Jane Clark

Piper is excited to head to the balmy beaches of Florida to attend her cousins wedding. But when the deaths and accidents start adding up she enlists her boyfriend's help. He is in the FBI and she hopes that he can provide some answers before her cousins wedding is ruined.

I'm pretty picky about my mysteries and I really enjoyed this one. It wasn't incredibly suspenseful and not a bit gory. This is apparently the third book in the series, but I never felt confused or left out. There were enough clues that the murderer could have been any number of people. While I did have a pretty good idea, I wasn't certain until the very end. I really enjoyed this book and will be checking out the previous books in the series as well as other books by this author.

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

Simple and Sold

Simple and Sold
Sissy Lappin

Every penny counts in this economy. So saving on realtors fees can often save you thousands and thousands of dollars. Sissy Lappin is a top producing realtor in Texas. She has continued to hold this title even when the economy and real estate market went south.

She shares her secrets on how to sell your own home in this easy to read and understand book. The steps are simple and clear. I expected to become a bit bored with the technical aspects, but was pleasantly surprised. The author also has a website that provides lists and forms that might be useful in selling your own home. If you are getting ready to sell your home I highly recommend reading this book first. It won't take very long and would be well worth the money.

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

Friday, December 21, 2012

These prices are available on Amazon only.

For a listing of books offered and to enter to win, click here!!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

When the Duke Found Love

When the Duke Found Love
Isabella Bradford 

Lady Diana has caused her family enough stress and embarrassment. So her mother finds her a husband. Also in town the Duke of Sheffield has agreed to a loveless marriage to save his own embarrassment. But as they are meeting their intended they happen to meet each other as well. If only their families had chosen more wisely.

I had not read the previous two books about the Wylder sisters. But this didn't seem to detract from the book. There was very little conflict and it was probably very unrealistic in parts. But the story was fun and the characters entertaining. If you enjoy a good fluffy romantic story than you'll enjoy this book. No amazing plot or thickening suspense, just funny romance.

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

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Twelfth Child

The Twelfth Child
Bette Lee Crosby

Abigail has a rough life. A mother who dies early and a father who hates her are just the beginning. The story begins right before Abigail is born, but soon jumps to 70 years later when Abigail befriends her neighbor.

There were several pros and cons.
Very well written story.
Ending left you wanting more.
Engaging characters.
Author had a great way of making you feel what you were supposed to feel for each character.
 Book clubs will love this book.

Did NOT like the cover. Detracted from the book, I think.
Story had a slow start for me.
I disliked/hated a couple of things and people so badly that it put me off the story a bit.
Probably not my style.

All in all it's very well written and engaging story that probably just wasn't my thing. If I rated it on writing style I would give it a 4. But since the rating is for how I like the book I'm giving it a 3.

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

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Lights

Christmas Lights
Christine Pisera Naman

Seven women tell their Christmas stories as they learn about having the Christmas spirit and sharing that magic with their friends and family. Each story is short, but heartwarming.

If you want to cry and laugh and feel the spirit of Christmas, this is the perfect novel to read. It is a tiny little book. But so much is packed into those little stories. The story at the end will tie everything together. The author is said to be award winning with her non-fiction, but this is her first work of fiction. Based on this novel I would definitely read more of her fiction. Loved this book.

I received this book from Random House & Albee Agency free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Miss Dreamsville

Miss Dreamsville
And The Collier County Women's Literary Society
Amy Hill Hearth

 Dora, a divorced postal worker, shares her story about a book club started by the misfits in her community. They read books, but it's way more than just a book club. They become friends and stand together to fight the injustice of a southern town in the 60s.

I loved this book. It was funny, cheesy, and at times over the top. But for some reason it seemed to work. The characters were believable, for the most part. The story could have happened in any small southern town in the 60s. And yet there was just a tad more to make it completely improbable. Normally I don't go for this type of story, but author has a great talent for pulling you into the story and holding you captive. So while not my normal style, it was fun. 
I will definitely read more by this author.

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

An Amish Kitchen

An Amish Kitchen
Beth Wiseman
Kelly Long
Amy Clipston

Three stories set in a close-knit Amish community. All three stories center around love and the heart of the home, the kitchen.
Story 1 - Fern heals with herbs, but doesn't have a remedy for the love she longs to share with a husband. But when a handsome man knocks on her door needing help she isn't quite sure what to do.
Story 2 - Hannah runs a bed and breakfast for her parents. A lifelong crush has recently shown an interest in her, but a tenant holds more appeal. Will she be able to choose wisely?
Story 3 - Eve's home is being repaired after a storm. Moving back in with her parents after years of marriage isn't exactly a picnic. But copying down her mother's recipes brings them closer than she had ever experienced.

All three stories were sweet and heartwarming. They all tie together in a very small way, but all three can stand alone. Several reviews mentioned predictable plots. Yes, like most novellas, the plot was easy to predict. But the stories were short and were nice to read in one sitting. There wasn't a lot of drama or conflict, just a small amount that goes into any typical novella.
At the end of the book there are discussion questions for each story, natural herbal remedies, and 45 Amish recipes from the stories.

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

Unending Devotion

Unending Devotion
Jody Hedlund

Lily, an orphan, is traveling through all of the logging towns looking for her sister Daisy. She fears that Daisy is working in unsavory conditions. Lily longs to rescue Daisy and provide a home for her now that they are grown.
When she arrives in Harrison she meets a man that will test her patience and maybe her love. The next few months may test everything they both hold dear.

A very slow start led to a good book in the end. I was probably half way through the book before I became engaged and cared about the characters. The last half of the book I sped through and enjoyed. The story brought to life some things about logging camps that I hadn't thought about before. The conflicts between family, work, and faith were interesting and thought provoking.
I enjoyed the second half of this book, so would advise you to keep reading if you feel bogged down in the beginning.

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

Hiding in Plain Sight

Hiding in Plain Sight
Place of Refuge Series
Amy Wallace

Officer Ashley Walters is running from tragedy. She finds a job in small town Montezuma and hopes to hide there to lick her wounds. But Emma and Patrick become her friends. Before she knows it she has two men vying for her attention, someone targeting her friends and a town revitalization that's getting out of control.

I had a like/dislike relationship with this book. I didn't hate it and I didn't love it. But there were things I liked and disliked. The book seemed to move very slowly and things weren't very clear at times. This is book one in the series, but I felt a bit lost when certain characters were introduced, like perhaps, I should have already known something about their background.

On a positive note, I liked the main character Ashley and felt the book had a strong message of forgiveness and healing. My final conclusion - It's an interesting book, but not thrilling or gripping.

I received this book free of charge via a contest on The Bookclub Network.


Since I've been slacking with my blog posting I thought I'd compensate a bit by letting you know of a contest on another blogger's site.

She's giving away an ebook to one lucky winner who comments on her blog.

Check it out!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Gift of a Family

A Gift of a Family
Mia Ross

Seth came to Harland, NC to help his aunt renovate her apartments. As an ex-soldier, he was also hoping the small town would help him heal.
Lisa works at his aunts' diner in hopes that she'll soon have enough money to leave Harland.
The Christmas spirit and God's amazing grace help bring this romantic story together.

The main characters were interesting and relate able. The subject of PTSD was handled well and tastefully. I really enjoyed this story. I found it fun and refreshing after some of the heavy books I've been reading lately. It's a romantic Christmas story with the love of God woven throughout.

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