Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Dancing Master

The Dancing Master
Julie Klassen

 Alec Valcourt has left London in disgrace. His mother and sister join him as he moves in with his uncle in a small town. Alec is a dancing master, but soon learns that dancing is not allowed by the patron of the town. He's left with very few choices for employment. He quickly makes friends, but when he befriends the daughter of the town patron things began to get complicated.

I was really looking forward to reading this book. The cover was perfect, the description sounded interesting, and I've read and enjoyed books by this author before.
But it was not meant to be. It took me forever to get into the book. It just seemed to plod along with nothing happening. I couldn't relate to the two main characters and the story lacked any real plot at first. The writing was good, but the characters and lack of plot were what made this just an okay book. If the two main characters were gone and several of the secondary characters had more of a place I would have really enjoyed the book since I like reading about this time period. Another small annoyance (that I probably wouldn't have even noticed had I been enjoying the book) were the awkward placement of the quotes about dancing masters at the beginning of each chapter. Instead of giving some insight into what was coming in the next chapter, they seemed to focus on the chapter I had just finished. For some reason this just really detracted from the story for me. In summary, it wasn't a bad book, it just wasn't what I was expecting from this author.

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

A Little Off-Kelter. . .

A Little Off-Kelter. . .the parenting years
Kelly Coleman Potter

Boys can be a bit stressful to a mom, and that is putting it mildly. Noticing that there weren't a lot of things written in the local paper for parents, the author gave herself a job. This book is a collection of the articles she wrote for her local newspaper. Each one is about her children and the predicaments they seemed to get themselves into.

 The stories are relate-able to parents and grandparents. If you've had children, then chances are you have found, or will soon find, yourself in a similar situation.  Written in an journal type format and coming in at a little over 100 pages the book isn't going to consume a large amount of time. But if you enjoy a bit of tongue in cheek humor about parenting, then you will probably enjoy this quick little read.

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

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bobbs and the Little Boy Meet Agnes

Bobbs and the Little Boy Meet Agnes
Diane Page
Little boy and his friend Bobbs are sad because their neighbors moved away. They wait for a very long time for the new neighbors to move in. When the day finally arrives, Little boy is shocked to discover a girl is moving in. Little boy and Bobbs aren't sure how to befriend a little girl.

The language and artwork are geared towards a pre-school or early elementary aged child. The drawings are simplistic, but relate well to the story. I read the book to my 7 yr old and 5 yr old. They both said it was okay when I finished. It was okay, but there were several things that I didn't like. In a previous book about the boy it talks about his sister. And yet the boy seems unable to relate to the girl next door at all. The events that describe the relationship between the two do not flow well together or even make sense with the story. The sequence of events show the little girl in a very negative light. Since the boy only talks to his stuffed cat, there isn't any adult guidance or instruction on how to deal with anything, so the ending thought is that girls just don't make sense.

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

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cashing Out of Your Business

Cashing Out of Your Business
Your Last Great Deal
Kathleen Richardson-Mauro & Jane M. Johnson
You've owned a successful business and are now ready to either retire or move on. What do you do? Check out this little book, packed full of useful information on how to get the most from your business when you leave.

I own a business and, while not ready to cash out, was interested in this information for the future. The authors did an outstanding job of presenting facts and giving options for almost every scenario out there. The book is filled with stories of success and deals gone wrong. Don't let the small book (only 70 pages) fool you, this would be a huge benefit to someone looking to sell a business. The information would also be extremely helpful for someone just starting out so they already have the necessary measures in place when the time comes to cash out. Would definitely recommend.

I received this book free of charge from News & Experts in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Taken for English

Taken for English
Valley of Choice Book 3
Olivia Newport

Annie is joining the Amish faith. She's made her decision based on a lot of prayer. But she's hoping that it will also help her love life with Rufus. Arson, wayward teenagers, and a distant boyfriend all seem to pile together to make her life very confusing and stressful. Can she get everything straightened out?

It's been over a year since I read book one in this series. Somehow I missed getting my hands on book two and picked this one without realizing that small detail. The entire book was so confusing to me. I enjoyed the story, but stayed lost for large parts of it. There were just so many missing details, apparently from book two, that I couldn't keep everything straight. While I liked the story, I wouldn't recommend reading the books out of order. The details and suspense were nice. But the romance part that was pulled through all three books could have been tied up a little better. Overall, it was a nice book, but not a huge favorite.

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

What the Tweet

What the Tweet!
Write Funny One-Liners, Paraprosdokians, "Quotations", and Aphorisms for Twitter
Bill Liao & Deirdre Nuttall

Anyone familiar with the internet knows that a tweet can get lost in amidst the chatter. What is someone to do if they want their voice to be heard? Check out this book to find ways to make yourself heard amongst all of the noise, how to make your words stand out and make people laugh or think.

I love words and the quirks of the English language. So this book was fun for me to browse. It isn't a "reading" book. But it's packed full of information about how to speak to people and making every word count. Even if you don't have a twitter account, you can learn new things about getting your point across with words.

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

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The New England Romance Collection

The New England Romance Collection
Susan Page Davis, Darlene Franklin, Pamela Griffin, Lisa Harris, Lynette Sowell

Five historical romance stories are told by five different authors and are centered around the northeast. Each story has romance, history, faith, love, and family all mixed together to make an enjoyable book.

I enjoyed each of these stories. The main theme of strength amidst trials was a nice touch from the usual historical romances that I've read recently. The stories were clean and had strong elements of faith. All five authors brought a different perspective and yet the stories fit well together. None of these stories were tied together, yet I felt that each one fit well in the book. I liked the book well enough to add it to my collection.

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

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Deal With Benefits

A Deal With Benefits
Susanna Carr
Ashley made a deal with the devil to keep her island home. She's not making the monthly payments and was hoping that one more celebrity guest at her remote resort home would give her enough cash to make the payments. But when her mortgage is purchased and she receives an eviction notice, she goes to the office of the new owner to plead for her home. She is in for the surprise of her life when she sees the man behind the desk.

I really hate writing these types of reviews. I was pretty sure I'd read some things by this author previously and enjoyed them. But this book was not my style. The cover was too cheesy. The story was stilted and unbelievable. Both characters were not endearing or relate-able. The male character was egotistical, rude, and a real jerk. The female character was weak and emotional. I just couldn't wrap my head around this story ever happening. But it wasn't enough out there to be a fantasy. I know that there are a lot of people who will enjoy the angst and drama, the sex (quite a bit of that) and the emotions. Sadly, I just wasn't one of them.

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

Monday, January 6, 2014

A Time to Laugh

A Time to Laugh Romance Collection
Wanda Brunstetter, Gail Sattler, Janice Thompson

Laughter and romance can certainly go together as this anthology reveals. Five contemporary romance stories are told with humor and love. Told from a Christian prospective the five stories are tied together by faith, love and humor.

It's a little bit hard for me to review an anthology with different authors. I really didn't enjoy the humor or plot in a couple of these stories. They felt extremely rushed and lacked feeling. Two of the stories were sweet, but I failed to laugh, so the humor wasn't really there for me. But one of the stories was really fun and entertaining. I'm definitely going to be checking out the author for anything else she might have written. It was a cute book, but I probably should have paid more attention to which authors were writing for it before I picked it up.

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

Sunday, January 5, 2014

My Bible Story Sketchbook

My Bible Story Sketchbook
Jean Fischer
Illustrator - David Cutting
If your child likes to draw or doodle then check out one of the latest sketch books. Filled with starter sketches and suggestions for doodles, the book reinforces Biblical stories while letting the imagination run with plenty of space to draw. It has extra pages for additional drawing and Bible verses to go with each scene being depicted.

My son loves drawing and I thought this would be a perfect book for him to take to church and work on during the service. He absolutely loved it. My husband and I enjoyed looking at all of his drawings and creativity that afternoon. It's large enough that it will take several months for him to complete the book. The high quality binding will ensure that I can keep his drawings forever as a keepsake. I would highly recommend this little sketch book for any little artist.

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

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Top 10 Children's Books for 2013

I wrote a list of my top 10 books for 2013 here on my personal blog.
But then I realized that I also have a ton of children's books that I've fallen in love with this year.
So I figured I'd post that list here.

More Bears

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Library Lion


Owl Moon,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

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Sammy Experiences God

I have a ton of favorite children's books. 
But these are my top favorite that I've discovered this year.