Friday, July 31, 2015

God Wants to Bless You!

God Wants to Bless You!
How to Experience the Unconditional Goodness of God
Che Ahn
God loves His children very much and longs to bless them. When we realize what blessings truly are and the depth of love that our heavenly Father has for us, we will begin to see blessings all around us. The author has taken scripture and stories about blessings and woven them together in a compact book to show the reader how much God wants to bless us. Part I tells the reader about the power of blessings, Part II goes over the different parts, or decrees, of blessings.

 The cover is beautiful and the subject was appealing. The book is informative and could be used for additional study on blessings. However, it was a bit dry for just sitting down to read. I appreciated the points that were brought out, but the layout didn't flow smoothly for me and I found myself struggling to read portions. It will be a blessing to those who read it, but it wouldn't be considered light reading nor would work for a Bible study (on its own) like I'd hoped.

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

The Love List

The Love List
The Complete Series
Jennifer Conner, Sharon Kleve, Angela Ford, Joanne Jaytanie
Four seperate stories by four different authors tell about how four young women are tired of dating and want to fall in love with the man they will marry. A little bit too much wine and a lot of desperation lead to The Love List. Each girl puts a name in the hat of a man she doesn't want to date, but who could be a good potential for one of the other girls. What happens next is exactly as planned. But love always finds a way and eventually each girl finds her man.

The premise for the story was amusing. The feel of the book was very YA for me. The reactions and conversations were more teenager than adult. While the stories were interesting, I had a really hard time with the inconsistencies in the editing and story lines. Most novellas written by multiple people match much better than these four stories did. I think this would be a cute little YA book if it had some serious editing and a clean up of some of the physical romance. 
I received this book free of charge from Goodreads in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Not by Sight

Not by Sight
Kate Breslin
Britain is in the midst of WWI. Grace has a brother who has joined the fight and she wants him to come home. She naively thinks that if more men will join the war will be quickly over. So she crashes a party one night and hands out the white feathers to men she thinks are cowards. One man in particular is her focus. Her actions land her in trouble with her father and soon she finds herself working in the country helping with war efforts. What she finds there will change her life and that of her entire family.

I've been wanting to read this book since I first heard of it. Thankfully it more than lived up to the hype. The book captured my attention from the very first chapter. The characters were complex and well defined. The descriptions were vivid and allowed me to "see" the story. The author was able to take a story during a dark period in history and add some beautiful elements to it. The plot was both complicated and yet easy to follow. I thoroughly enjoyed the suspense and twists the author used to guide the plot. I enjoyed the friendships and the elements of faith that the author wove into the story. This is definitely an author that will be added to my favorites list. I look forward to her next book.

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

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Among The Fair Magnolias

Among The Fair Magnolias
Four Southern Love Stories
Tamera Alexander, Shelley Gray, Dorothy Love, Elizabeth Musser
Each of the four stories are connected by their location and time period. Each one is set in the south during or close to the Civil War. The women in each story must overcome obstacles to have the men they love. Each author captured the essence of the time period.

I enjoyed each of these stories and found some new authors to check out. The one author I was familiar with took a secondary character from one of her previous books and wrote a love story for her. It was really fun to go back and visit them again. It made me want to read other books by the other authors to see if they did this as well. Rich stories that really showcase each author's writing style and the history for that time period.

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

Monday, July 27, 2015

Hope Harbor

Hope Harbor
Irene Hannon
Tracy is content working her family cranberry farm with her uncle in Hope Harbor. But finances, or the lack of, were threatening to shut down the farm. So she enlists an a vacationer named Michael to help while he's visiting. Michael has come to town to try to recover from burn out at his job and to hopefully heal some mental and spiritual wounds. The two just might find healing together.

This wasn't the typical story that I'm used to reading by this author. But it was still a good read. The story had a sweet, small town feel with quirky characters, faith filled moments, and a bit of romance. It showcased the importance of family and forgiveness and left me with a deeper appreciation for my loved one. While not what I was expecting, it was a good book that I would definitely recommend.

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

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Real Food for Rookies

Real Food for Rookies
Kelly Moeggenborg
The author changed her family's diet and wrote this book to show the reader the simple steps to implementing a healthy in their lives. She begins by talking about how to take it one step at a time and what to start with first. She then builds on each chapter with additional information. 

This book is for the beginner in healthy cooking. The steps are simple and easy to understand and implement. There are a few black and white pictures and six recipes included in one of the chapters. With the exception of the soda pop recipe, all of the recipes are simple and easy to make. This book would be great for someone who is completely lost when it comes to implementing a healthy diet and needs a starting point and some general ideas.

I received this book free of charge from Book Club Network in exchange for my review.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Twinkies Cookbook

The Twinkies Cookbook
A New Sweet and Savory Recipe Collection
from America's Most Iconic Snake Cake
Hostess has an 85th anniversary edition cookbook full of recipes that all include Twinkies. The book begins with the history of Twinkies. Quite a few of the recipes are submitted by Twinkie lovers from across the country. The recipes starts with a few sentences by the originator of the recipe. Seven different categories range from the sweet to the savory. 

The recipes are simple and easy to make. Colorful photography and creative ideas will make this book a favorite with Twinkie lovers. But anyone one who enjoys a sweet treat will enjoy looking through and making the recipes in this book. It's compact size and novel idea also make it a perfect gift for the cook in your family.

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

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

To Capture Her Heart

To Capture Her Heart
The Southold Chronicles Book 2
Rebecca DeMarino
Heather Flower is an Indian princess. When she's captured by another tribe of Indians, her father sends a Dutch man named Dirk to rescue her. She watched her husband be murdered and can't go back home, so she goes to visit her aunt until her heart can heal. A long time friend Ben is there to help her feel welcome in his community again. Heather and Ben must heal their broken hearts and decide if they have room to let another person in again. The story also catches the reader up on the happenings of the small community that was introduced in book one.

This is a book that is rich in details and has a large cast of characters. It is a historical family saga that spans quite a bit of time. The book picks up approximately 12 years after book one ends and tries to catch the reader up on everything that has happened since. I was immediately bogged down in the details. The romance was weak and didn't grab me. There were so many characters that I had a hard time remembering who was who, despite the fact that I'd read the 1st book. I wasn't convinced of the great love between the two characters and couldn't really get a feel for their personalities. This book will appeal to someone who enjoys this type of thing, but I couldn't get into it.

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

Sunday, July 12, 2015

You Don't Know Me

You Don't Know Me
Deep Haven Book 6
Susan May Warren
Twenty years ago Deidre went into the witness protection program. She is now living in Deep Haven as Annalise. She's married with three kids and life is perfect. But when her FBI handler, Frank, shows up she knows that her perfect life is about to get very complicated.

I always enjoy this author and this book was no exception. The characters are real and authentic. The sense of family and faith is very strong. Each book stands alone, but readers enjoying the series will have a glimpse of characters from previous novels. The plot and several of the conversations between characters really got me thinking. I enjoyed the story, but I also enjoyed the thoughts it brought out. This is a book that I'll keep and re-read in the future.

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

Saturday, July 11, 2015

In Good Company

In Good Company
A Class of Their Own Book 2
Jen Turano
Millie doesn't mean to get fired - again and again. Her employers just don't understand her nanny methods. But despite her lack of work she refuses to work for Everett Mulberry. He hurt her feelings when he refused her a job earlier and now she won't have anything to do with him. Everett is in desperate need of another nanny after yet another one walked out on him. He is a bachelor that suddenly became the guardian for wild three children and is now willing to beg Millie to work for him. If the two can survive it just might be the best thing that ever happened to them. 

I started laughing during the first chapter and laughed my way through this entire book. Millie was a hilarious character. I really enjoyed the first book in the series and this one was even better. The plot was well laid out and set the scene for the two main characters. But the children played a huge part in the book as well and were fun to read about. The author also did a great job of setting up the character for the next book in the series that will come out some time next year. I am eagerly waiting to read that one. On a side note - the author had Millie love new words and sprinkled them throughout the book. I love unusual words, so this was a fun little addition for me.

I received this book free of charge from Book Club Network and Bethany house in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Explosive Alliance

Explosive Alliance
First Responders Book 2
Susan Sleeman
Krista is at the ball stadium spending some quality time with her grandpa. But when a man leaves a backpack in the stands and refuses to go back and get it, she investigates. It's a bomb. She rushes back to alert Officer Dixon, the officer she saw a few minutes earlier. What happens next is unbelievable. Break-ins, kidnapping, and more bombs are just a few of the things now intruding into Krista's life. Her previous experience tells her that she can't trust law enforcement. But Cash Dixon and his team seem to be the exception.
The story definitely starts off with a bang (pun intended). And the suspense and drama don't let up. The relationship between Krista and her grandfather is sweet and balances out the tension in the rest of the plot. The characters are likable and give another glimpse into the family relationship the whole team has. I won't give any spoilers, but I like how the two different aspects of the investigation played together and ended out the story. I can't wait for the next book in the series.
I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Sorry I'm Not Sorry

Sorry I'm Not Sorry
Mean Girl Makeover #3
Nancy Rue
Kylie is THE girl at her local school. She's the mean girl with all of her friends dancing to her every command. And those other weird girls are her to play with and destroy at her will. But when things got out of hand and Kylie is suspended she's forced to retake social studies, spend time with a counselor, and do some community service. She's determined to fake everything so she can get back into cheer leading.

I was a little skeptical of how the story would play out. It's the story from the bully's point of view. But the author handled the issues really well. The story brought out reasons, but not excuses, for why a bully might act the way they do. Solutions using the Bible were taught to Kylie in a non-preaching manner that will really help girls in similar situations. The steps to getting rid of bullying can be used on both sides of the issue to bring a resolution. This book would be a huge asset to any classroom or to anyone with a young girl entering her pre-teens. I intend to keep all of the books in the series for my daughter when she gets older.

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

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Gone Without a Trace

Gone Without a Trace
Logan Point Book 3
Patricia Bradley
Homicide detective Livy is trying to deal with the death of a teenager that she shot during a robbery. It was justified since he pulled a gun on her, but she still can't seem to overcome the images. Her boss recommends a vacation and Livy heads to Logan Point. But once there she runs into Private Investigator Alex Jennings who is investigating the disappearance of a young girl. The clues all look just like the ones that were there two years ago when Livy's cousin disappeared. Can the two be linked? Livy agrees to help Alex in hopes of finding her cousin.

Even though this is the 3rd in the series it can be read as a stand-alone. But based on the writing I would highly recommend reading the first two books. Ms. Bradley is not an author you want to miss. The suspense is well laid out and fits with the plot. The characters are likable or the kind you love to hate. I enjoyed the interaction between the family members and felt the scene was well set for the story. Ms. Bradley might be fairly new to the writing scene, but she's good. I will definitely be reading more of her in the future and would highly recommend her to anyone loving Christian suspense.

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

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Silent Night Standoff

Silent Night Standoff
First Responders Book 1
Susan Sleeman
Skyler is a hostage negotiator. But she soon realizes that things are completely different from the other side. She's cashing a check at the bank when the infamous Bonnie and Clyde couple storms in and starts pointing their guns. Logan, an FBI agent, is soon on the scene. He's great at his job. But there is one tiny problem - he dumped Skyler to pursue his career two years ago. Skyler and her team of first responders are a close knit group. They all live in the old fire station and are closer than family. They aren't going to be super happy to let him into their group while they solve the bank robbery.

The tension starts out immediately with the bank robbery. It doesn't stop until the last few pages as the group of first responders tries to stop the bank robber and the person trying to kill Skyler. The characters were well developed and authentic. Each person stood out on the team and the little side information helps the reader anticipate the next books in the series. I liked the faith elements that were woven into the story with the suspense. The relationship between the two main characters was sweet. This was a great book to start the series and I look forward to reading the next books.

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

Susan's website

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor
Melanie Dobson
Libby has always been just a little bit different. Her parents can't figure her out or keep her under control. So when she ends up pregnant a world of secrets is unleashed on the little family cottage. Years later, Heather, her sister returns to put the cottage on the market and hopefully find out what happened to her family.

This book was unique and the style was unlike anything I've read before. It took me several chapters to get engaged with the story and the characters. But once the story got started it was interesting. The characters seemed to fit the typical English stereotypes. The plot jumped back and forth between several points of view. It was mysterious and thought provoking. The story was plot driven so while I didn't feel connected with any of the characters, I liked it. I will definitely check out more by this author.

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

Monday, July 6, 2015

Genius Recipes

Food52 Genius Recipes
100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook
Kristen Miglore
The creators of a famous food blog have taken their favorite recipes, the ones that changed everything for them and compiled them in this book. These are the recipes that have made it onto the shortlist for one reason or another. These are the recipes that to them are "pure genius". Color photographs fill the book and give the reader/cook an idea of the what the finished product should look like. There are also some pictures that show the steps for some of the recipes.

  I read through the entire book and tried several of the recipes. None of the recipes grabbed me and begged me to make them. But I tried several so that I could rate the book. They turned out okay. They were good, but not great. They certainly aren't genius. Several of the recipes used ingredients that aren't easy to find or available in my area, so that also made it difficult. Overall, it was a neat book to look through, but not one that I'll be hanging on to.

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

Web of Deceit

Web of Deceit
Agents Under Fire Book 1
Susan Sleeman
Kaitlyn works for the FBI. When she discovers her brother-in-law is a cyber criminal she confronts him. But in the fight he shoots her sister and runs. Three years later Kaitlyn is raising her niece and desperately searching for the man that killed her sister. But Vyper is always one step ahead of her. Sam, a local detective, is brought on when Vyper kills another computer geek. Now the two are racing against time to save lives, including Kaitlyns.

If I had to sum up this book in one word it would be chilling. The suspense and drama were high, the author really did her research. The criminal was positively creepy. The characters were intense, but likable. The intensity went well with the plot and the jobs that they had. There was also a small romantic thread woven throughout the story. I look forward to reading the next book in the series and seeing how everything plays out with several of the secondary characters.

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

Susan's website.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

If You Were Me

If You Were Me and Lived in China
A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World
Carole P. Roman
Children can learn about what it would be like if they were a child living in China. Colorful illustrations and photography show various aspects of life in China. The book is told in story form and covers geography, a little bit of history, food, sports, home life, and holidays. All of the unfamiliar words have a pronunciation guide directly after the word as well as included in the glossary at the back of the book. 

My children loved the book and it opened up the conversation for more discussion and research about China and what it's like to live there. The author does a great job of getting information across without being too detailed or overwhelming. The book would be a good resource for schools or home school parents to add to the curriculum. 

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

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Red Notebook

The Red Notebook
Antoine Laurain
Laurent, a bookstore owner, is taking a walk one day when he comes across a purse. The wallet is missing so he has no way of knowing who the purse belongs to. Laurent finds a little red notebook filled with the owner's thoughts. He has to find this woman and meet her. After a bit of detective work he finds Laure, the owner, only to learn she is in the hospital after the mugging the lost her the purse.

The little french story is filled with whimsy and romance. The characters are well written and intriguing. The subtle way the plot is woven around the purse is romantic and surreal. The ending was perfect. The references to literary works was a neat addition to the story and added depth. Someone mentioned that the book was possibly being made into a film. I can definitely see the appeal for this. It has a serendipity feel to the story. The book was short, but well written and I enjoyed it.

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

Friday, July 3, 2015

Gollywood Here I Come

Gollywood Here I Come
Terry John Barto
Little Anamazie, the turkey, dreams of being a big star. So when she comes in second at the local talent show she's devastated. But she and her mother are thrilled when a talent scout approaches them and offers Anamazie a chance to try out for a new movie. Anamazie auditions for the part and gets it. Soon she's on her way to Gollywood and the life of a star. Her mother is right when she says "You can do anything if you work hard and never give up.

The illustrations make this book. They are bright, colorful, and fill each page. The little bird character with her long lashes is precious. My daughter's favorite part of the book was the pictures. The story was cute. It didn't focus on the message of "hard work" very much and glamorized acting. My daughter enjoyed the story, but wanted to know what the movie was about. 

I received this book free of charge from Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

King's Ransom

King's Ransom
Man on a Mission Book 2
Amelia Autin
 Juliana, a well known actress, is returning to Zakhar to make a movie. Her father worked there when she was a teenager, but she hasn't been back since. It might have something to do with King Andre and how they left their relationship. Before the two can untie all of the tangles that led them to this point, they must find out who is trying to kill them and possibly take over the throne.

This was a story of misunderstanding and miscommunication. The romance was sweet. There wasn't as much intrigue as I'd expected based on the type of book, but it was still fun and mysterious. I enjoyed the characters and the plot ended nicely.

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

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Winning the Teacher's Heart

Winning the Teacher's Heart
The Donnelly Brothers
Jean C. Gordon
Becca is a single mom with two wonderful children. She's a little leery of men and for a very good reason. So when the famous motor cross racer Jared Donnelly comes back to town to open his racing school she's nervous and less than thrilled. Jared thinks he's used to the censor from his old home town. But somehow he can't brush it off as easily when he thinks Becca might be thinking badly of him.

The plot was interesting and the characters were entertaining. The romance felt a bit rushed to me, but it was still sweet. It's a clean, Christian read that talks about trust and faith. The story deals with infidelity, drinking, and a little bit of fighting so probably not for the younger readers. I was a little surprised that the author didn't bring in the other brothers more so the reader could get hooked on their characters since this appears to be the start of a series. Overall, it was a nice, enjoyable book.