Wednesday, December 18, 2013

WoW #37: Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:



Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck
Series: Royal Wedding, #2
Zondervan February 2014

cover of Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck
About
Regina Beswick never dreamed of faraway places. She’s happy with her life as a classic car mechanic and owner of a restoration shop.

But an unexpected visitor and the discovery of a fairytale, drawn by her great-grandma, causes Regina to wonder if she might be destined for something more.

Tanner Burkhardt, Minister of Culture for the Grand Duchy of Hessenberg, must convince the strong-willed Southerner, Miss Beswick, that she is his country’s long-lost princess. Failure could destroy his reputation and change his nation forever.

As Regina and Tanner face the challenges before them, neither are prepared for love to invade their hearts and change every thing they believe about themselves.

However, when a royal opponent nearly destroys Regina’s future, she must lean into God and trust He has sovereignly brought her to her true and final destiny.

Why I want to read it
I actually just got approval to read a review ebook copy! So excited but I'm saving it for the long airplane ride home. I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Once Upon a Prince and I'm sure this one will be just as fun.

Pre-order it:

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Remember - Anytime you visit Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com or ChristianBooks.com use an affiliate link to get there. Any purchase you make from a link on my site generates a small kickback. You need not purchase the item I'm featuring, any purchase counts. It costs you nothing extra and is an easy way to support this site.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Top Ten New-to-Me Authors in 2013


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

It's always good to look back and remember some of the books I read this year. There were a number of new-to-me authors amongst those which is what this week's TTT focuses on.

Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2013

1. John Flanagan - author of the Ranger's Apprentice series among others.
He write adventures stories that middle and high school boys especially enjoy.
You can learn more about the series at http://www.rangersapprentice.com/.

2. Sarah E. Ladd - author of The Heiress of Winterwood and The Headmistress of Rosemere
Her debut book (and series) is an inspirational romance novel set in Regency England. Looking forward to book two. You can learn more about Sarah on her Facebook page.

3. Rachel Hauck - author of Once Upon a Prince and Princess Ever After
Inspirational romance author. Looking forward to reading the second book on the airplane on Thursday/Friday! Learn more about the author on her website: http://www.rachelhauck.com

4. Jeff Wheeler - author of The Wretched of Muirwood, the rest of that series, and other books.
Science fiction and fantasy are his genres. His website is: http://www.jeff-wheeler.com

5. Beth Wiseman - author of The House that Love Built and lots of Amish Fiction
 Her genre of choice is inspirational romance and while most of her books are Amish fiction she is branching out into more contemporary settings. Learn more on her website: http://bethwiseman.com/

6. Melody Carlson - author of Lock, Stock, and Over a Barrel and lots of other books and series
A prolific author, most of her books are written for teenage girls but she's written kid books, middle grade fiction and contemporary Christian romance. Her website is: http://www.melodycarlson.com

7. Ruth Trippy - author of The Soul of the Rose
I loved that book. You should read it. Learn more about the author on her website: http://www.ruthtrippy.com/

8. Kimberly Rae Jordan - author of The Waiting Heart, the rest of that series, Faith, Hope and Love and other books
A missionary kid who has grown up to write inspirational romance. You can learn more about her and her books on her Facebook page.

9. Heather Gray - author of Ten Million Reasons and five other books
I will get around to reviewing this book, it's such a cute story! I liked it so much I went and bought several of her other books and enjoyed those as well. Learn more about her on her Facebook page.

10. Brandon Sanderson - author of Elantris and other books
Mainly a science fiction and fantasy author for young adults, I just finally got around to reading a book of his and enjoyed it. his website is: http://brandonsanderson.com/

What new authors did you discover this year?

Remember - Anytime you visit Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com or ChristianBooks.com use an affiliate link to get there. Any purchase you make from a link on my site generates a small kickback. You need not purchase the item I'm featuring, any purchase counts. It costs you nothing extra and is an easy way to support this site.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson (Book Cover Bingo - Crown/Tiara)

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. Tom Doherty Associates, 2005. 638p. (9780765359374)

I read this book for the book cover bingo game I'm participating in on Goodreads and I'm glad I could read this one for crown/tiara (she has a circlet! which counts). What an interesting story! Especially since it took me over 100 pages in to figure out who I should be rooting for. I only had a friend’s recommendation (from a year ago) and the back of the book to shape my expectations. It was interesting reading a book without having any idea of what it was going to be about.

Which is probably why it took me a while to figure out if I was supposed to cheer for the princess or the priest. The summary on Goodreads and probably elsewhere is very long gives a much better idea of all the characters and the story and plot details, but you’ll have to go look that up yourself. I’m only going to give you what the back of the book says. Makes for a more curious reading experience.

Part of Back of Book Summary:
Elantris was the city of the gods. What power could have cursed it?

Raoden, prince of Arelon, was loved by all, including the preincess he’d never met. Where has he gone?

Hrathen, high priest of Fjordell, will convert the people of Arelon or kill them. How will he decide?

Sarene, princess of Teod, was a widow before she was ever married. Who can stand against her?

Elantris delightfully proves that a great complete fantasy story can still be told in a single volume of action, intrigue, wonder and countless surprises.

My Review:
I really enjoyed this book and didn’t even realize until writing the above that it was over 600 pages. The story started a tad slow, but only because I wasn’t sure if the author was being tricky or if I really could root for the person I wanted to root for. Well and also since there were a lot of people, cultures, relationships and history to introduce.

All of which means that it’s a rich tale and you know that the author put a lot of thought into not just the story we read but the history of the places and characters. I especially liked how it’s more than just a fantasy story with magic, and good and evil battling it out. Those things are in there but the author also looks at human emotion and motivation, politics, and religion. The religious aspect is especially interesting.

The story is told from three perspectives: Raoden, Hrathen and Sarene’s. Which can be frustrating at times, but I liked having a bigger picture and getting to know those three. There were plenty of other characters too and several were quite entertaining and added a lot to the story.  

A number of reviewers on Goodreads gave this book low ratings and a few lowered theirs after rereading the book. Which makes sense since one of the strong points of this book is the mystery of how it will all turn out and the question of what will happen next.

If you enjoy fantasy, opinionated female characters, magical forces, and political/religious drama than you should pick this book up.
four stars means worth the read and the re-read



Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission.

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Remember - Anytime you visit Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com or ChristianBooks.com use an affiliate link to get there. Any purchase you make from a link on my site generates a small kickback. You need not purchase the item I'm featuring, any purchase counts. It costs you nothing extra and is an easy way to support this site.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Waiting Heart by Kimberly Rae Jordan

The Waiting Heart by Kimberly Rae Jordan - a four star contemporary, Christian romanceThe Waiting Heart by Kimberly Rae Jordan. Kindle Edition. 2013. 264p. (AISN: B00H2NIMB2) Series: Those Karlsson Boys, #3

A few months ago I came across this author, discovered she grew up as a MK (missionary kid) and within a few days had read just about everything she’s written that was available on Amazon. Last week book three in the series Those Karlsson Boys became available. It was a good conclusion to an enjoyable series.

Goodreads Summary:
A family crisis brings Jace Karlsson back to Minnesota and face to face with the girl he loved and abandoned eight years earlier. When the opportunity arises to help her, he hopes that it will make amends for his actions of the past. But old feelings die hard, and Jace soon realizes he feels more than guilt and remorse.

While the tragic accident left Mari with a broken and scarred body, it was Jace Karlsson's abrupt departure from her life that left her heart shattered. When he offers to help her realize a dream, Mari accepts but as she deals with the emotions of the past and the present, she wonders if the price is too high.

My Review:
Each book in this series focuses on a different man in the Karlsson family. The first two take place relatively close together in time but this one is eight years down the road so it’s neat to see how the others are doing and how their lives have progressed. Though I think this could be read as a standalone since the author does a good job in bringing in the back story.

Book one could be read after book three without any major spoilers, but you’d already know the main parts of book two if you read book three first. But at 99 cents apiece (as of 12/8/13) there isn’t much excuse not to read this enjoyable series in order.

There are several aspects that make these books so enjoyable. First off, they’re clean and sweet, yet they also deal with real problems in today’s world. Teenage pregnancy, car accidents, hackers, cancer, adoption, and the inability to have children are all issues that the characters in this series have to deal with and work through in the series.
The romance isn’t rushed and has a very real life feel. Lessons of trust, love, commitment, and laying aside personal dreams and ideas must be processed and learned.

The third thing I really like about this series is the way the author ties in prayer and the Bible. It’s not every preachy, there aren’t long sermons; it’s just naturally a part of the character’s lives.

If you enjoy contemporary Christian romance then this is a series for you.
4 stars means worth the read and the re-read


Go read it! Buy the series from Amazon – each book is currently (12/8/13) on sale for $0.99: Book 1: Worth the Wait; Book 2: Waiting for Rachel; Book 3: The Waiting Heart

Disclosure: I bought this book and the others in the series. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


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Remember - Anytime you visit Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com or ChristianBooks.com use an affiliate link to get there. Any purchase you make from a link on my site generates a small kickback. You need not purchase the item I'm featuring, any purchase counts. It costs you nothing extra and is an easy way to support this site.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

WoW #36 : The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:



The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen
Bethany House January 2014

cover of The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen shows a couple dancing
About
Leaving London, dancing master Alec Valcourt moves his mother and sister to remote Devonshire--but is stunned to discover that dancing is prohibited! He finds an unlikely ally in Miss Julia Midwinter, but her questions about his past are becoming harder to evade. Together, can they bring new life to this quiet village--and heal long-kept-secret scars?

Why I want to read it
Julie Klassen writes great historical fiction inspired by Austen and the Bronte sisters. I can't wait to find out which story snippets she wove into this tale!

Pre-order it:


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Remember - Anytime you visit Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com or ChristianBooks.com use an affiliate link to get there. Any purchase you make from a link on my site generates a small kickback. You need not purchase the item I'm featuring, any purchase counts. It costs you nothing extra and is an easy way to support this site.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Cover Reveal: Until That Distant Day by Jill Stengl

In lieu of Waiting on Wednesday I'm taking part of the cover reveal for Jill Stengl's newest book.This is her first novel in seven years so it's rather exciting that she is back in the writing business. Last year I discovered that the library I work at in Africa actually had one of her books which was rather exciting. But without further ado:


Paris, France
1792

Colette DeMer and her brother Pascoe are two sides of the same coin, dependent upon one another in the tumultuous world of the new Republic. Together they labor with other leaders of the sans-culottes to ensure freedom for all the downtrodden men and women of France.

But then the popular uprisings turn bloody and the rhetoric proves false. Suddenly, Colette finds herself at odds with Pascoe and struggling to unite her fractured family against the lure of violence. Charged with protecting an innocent young woman and desperately afraid of losing one of her beloved brothers, Colette doesn’t know where to turn or whom to trust as the bloodshed creeps ever closer to home.
Until that distant day when peace returns to France, can she find the strength to defend her loved ones . . . even from one another?
Coming April 25, 2014

From Rooglewood Press


Jill Stengl is the author of numerous romance novels including Inspirational Reader's Choice Award- and Carol Award-winning Faithful Traitor, and the bestselling novella, Fresh Highland Heir. She lives with her husband in the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin, where she enjoys her three cats, teaching a high school English Lit. class, playing keyboard for her church family, and sipping coffee on the deck as she brainstorms for her next novel.

To learn more about her newest novel check out the book page for Until that Distant Day.

Jill is offering an enormous bundle prize of ten print novels and novellas, including her award-winning Faithful Traitor, several novella collections, and her three-book Longtree series. These will all be autographed! (US and Canada only, please.)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

WoW #35 : Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:



Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer
Bethany House June 2014

About
When Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston from an eastern finishing school, she's stunned to find her father in ill health. Though she loves him, he's only ever focused on what she's "not." Not male. Not married. Not able to run their family business, Renard Shipping.

Vowing to secure a suitable marriage partner, Nicole sets out with the Renard family's greatest treasure: a dagger personally gifted to Nicole's father by the pirate Jean Lafitte. Many believe the legend that the dagger is the source of all Renard Shipping's good fortune, though Nicole is sure her father's work ethic and honorable business practices are the keys to their success. Before she can board the steamer to New Orleans, Nicole finds her father's rivals--the Jenkins brothers--on either side of the gangplank, ready to grab her and steal the dagger. Quickly, she decides to instead travel north, to Liberty, Texas, where she can decide what to do next.

Darius Thornton needs a secretary--someone to help him get his notes in order. Ever since the boiler explosion aboard the "Louisiana, " Darius has been a man obsessed. He will do anything to stop even one more steamship disaster. The pretty young socialite who applies for the job baffles him with her knowledge of mathematics and steamships. He decides to take a risk and hire her, but he's determined her attractive face and fancy clothes won't distract him from his important research.

The job offer comes at exactly the right time for Nicole. With what Darius is paying her, she'll be able to afford passage to New Orleans in mere weeks. But Mr. Thornton is so reclusive, so distant, so unusual. He can create complex scientific equations but can't remember to comb his hair. And his experiments are growing more and more dangerous. Still, there are undeniable sparks of attraction between them. But Nicole is leaving soon, and if she marries, it must be to a man who can manage a shipping empire. Darius certainly doesn't fit that description. And the Jenkins brothers have not given up on kidnapping Nicole and seizing the Lafitte dagger for themselves.

Why I want to read it
Isn't the cover lovely? Wish I had a dress that color. I loved Short straw Bride, really enjoyed Stealing the Preacher. While this doesn't sound like it involves the next Archer brother, I hope they make a cameo appearance! June please come soon and not just for this book. June you hold many things to look forward to!

Pre-order it:


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Remember - Anytime you visit Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com or ChristianBooks.com use an affiliate link to get there. Any purchase you make from a link on my site generates a small kickback. You need not purchase the item I'm featuring, any purchase counts. It costs you nothing extra and is an easy way to support this site.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Top Ten Books I'd Recommend To…Parents to read aloud


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's topic was a bit open ended: "Top Ten Books I'd Recommend To X Person" I decided to go with read alouds for middle and high school students since read alouds seem to end in elementary school. Just because kids get older doesn't mean they won't enjoy having a book read to them. Our family read books aloud frequently though sadly it did taper off the older we got. Oh, and I had fun creating a word cloud. What do you think?

Top Ten Books I'd Recommend To…
Parents to read aloud to their middle and high school age children


1. Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis
If you haven't done so already. Better late than never!
2. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
3. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Yes, it's a long book but I know a family who has read it to their young elementary age kids.
4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
5. Dragon and the Raven by G.A. Henty
My mom started reading this to my brother but my sister and I liked it so much we sat in.
6. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
7. White Fang by Jack London
8. Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
9. Winnie-the-Poohby A.A. Milne
A friend of mine read and was read these books when he was a teenager and he loved them. He would also quote them in emails.
10. Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge

What books did your parents read to you? Or are you reading to your kids?


Remember - Anytime you visit Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com or ChristianBooks.com use an affiliate link to get there. Any purchase you make from a link on my site generates a small kickback. You need not purchase the item I'm featuring, any purchase counts. It costs you nothing extra and is an easy way to support this site.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

An Untamed Heart by Lauraine Snelling

An Untamed Heart by Lauraine Snelling An Untamed Heart by Lauraine Snelling. Bethany House, 2013. 348p. (9780764202032) Series: Red River of the North, Prequel

When I was done I jotted down a few quick thoughts before turning out my light and one of those thoughts was it’s “almost as if this was a prequel telling us Ingeborg’s story.” And I was completely right, I just didn’t know it.

Make sure you understand that this is a prequel before starting the book, because otherwise it’ll really drag and you’ll dislike the ending – it’s such an abnormal romance novel ending. But if you’re familiar with the series then I suspect you know what happens.

Goodreads Summary:
Twenty-year-old Ingeborg Strand is certain she is destined to be an old maid. She's had several suitors but none she deemed worthy of spending her life with. That is, until she meets a university student from Oslo, and feelings stronger than friendship begin to develop between them. But tragedy strikes, and the future begins to look bleaker than ever.

Grief settles heavily over Ingeborg, and her mother suggests that she leave Norway and start afresh in America, as so many others have done before her. But how will she accomplish that with little money and no one to accompany her?

It isn't long before she meets Roald Bjorklund, a widower who has been planning to go to America for some time, lured by the promise of free land. He's a good man, a hard-working man--and he has a young son who desperately needs a mother. He's clearly interested in Ingeborg, but is he the answer to her prayers? And what about love? This isn't how she's always imagined it.
Ingeborg Strand has a heartrending decision to make...

My Review:
I have not read the Red River of the North series, I’m not familiar with them at all actually. Each book has a 4+ average rating on Goodreads, so they must be good. All that to say I think it’d be better if you were familiar with the series before reading this book.

I thought the pace of the overall story was slow and steady except for Nils’ accidents, but the speed of time passing varied quite a bit. The author lingered over the first summer up at the seter and then the rest of year passed fairly quickly until the next summer and that one flew by in a few paragraphs. And the conclusion felt rather sudden and some things never were resolved. (Example: Why did her mom seem to dislike her? I thought Ingeborg was making too big a deal over that at times, but the author kept bringing it up.)

When I started the book it’d been a while since I read a summary or another blogger’s review but my vague idea of what the book was about – Ingeborg possibly having to marry a widower with a baby and go to America was very misleading. That choice doesn’t arrive until the last few chapters and in the mean time we learn a ton about Norwegian farming practices.
Image source: A real seter
Which was quite interesting but not what I was expecting. The explanations of cheese making and life up at the seter were a bit too much in depth but it does give you a very good idea of a farmer’s family’s life in Norway in the late 1800s. In case you’re wondering, a seter is a cabin up in the mountains with fields nearby for the sheep and cows to graze and the teens and kids live up there alone all summer making cheese, sheering sheep, carding, spinning and weaving the wool, making hay, and doing all the farm chores necessary to care for the sheep and themselves. It reminded me of Heidi’s grandfather’s home in the Alps in a way.

If you love the Red River series then I’m guessing you’ll want to read this book, and if you want to learn more about rural life in Norway in the 1800s this would be a good choice.

3 stars - it's a fluff book - no real substance, but a fun read
3.5 stars

Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission.

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Remember - Anytime you visit Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com or ChristianBooks.com use an affiliate link to get there. Any purchase you make from a link on my site generates a small kickback. You need not purchase the item I'm featuring, any purchase counts. It costs you nothing extra and is an easy way to support this site.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

WoW #34 : Echoes of Mercy by Kim Vogel Sawyer

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:



Echoes of Mercy by Kim Vogel Sawyer
WaterBrook January 2014

cover of Echoes of Mercy by Kim Vogel Sawyer shows a brunette wearing an aqua dress covered by a white apron in front of a corner store
About
Sometimes a secret must be kept for the truth to be revealed.

 When a suspicious accident occurs at the famous Dinsmore Chocolate Factory in Sinclair, Kansas, Caroline Lang goes undercover as a factory worker to investigate the circumstances surrounding the event and how the factory treats its youngest employees—the child workers. Caroline’s fervent faith, her difficult childhood, and compassionate heart drove her to her job as an investigator for the Labor Commission and she is compelled to see children freed from such heavy adult responsibilities, to allow them to pursue an education.  

 Oliver Dinsmore, heir to the Dinsmore candy dynasty, has his own investigation to conduct. Posing as a common worker known as “Ollie Moore,” he aims to find out all he can about the family business before he takes over for his father. Caroline and Oliver become fast friends, but tension mounts when the two find themselves at odds about the roles of child workers. Hiding their identities becomes even more difficult when fate brings them together over three children in desperate need. When all is revealed, will the truth destroy the love starting to grow between them?

Why I want to read it
Historical fiction, hidden identities, fighting for the helpless, romance. Sounds like a good mix to me!

Pre-order it:


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Remember - Anytime you visit Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com or ChristianBooks.com use an affiliate link to get there. Any purchase you make from a link on my site generates a small kickback. You need not purchase the item I'm featuring, any purchase counts. It costs you nothing extra and is an easy way to support this site.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Hidden White House by Robert Klara

book cover of The Hidden White House shows two pictures of the White House under reconstruction The Hidden White House: Harry Truman and the Reconstruction of America's Most Famous Residence by Robert Klara. Thomas Dunne Books, 2013. 384p. (9781250000279)

This book caught my eye on NetGalley and I’m so glad I was given a chance to review it. What a fascinating account about a little known aspect of history. I was shocked at the White House’s state of disrepair and what had been done to the load bearing walls and supports! I knew that the White House had undergone some major renovations but I never knew the extent until I read this very well researched and fascinating account.  

Goodreads Summary:
Critically acclaimed author Robert Klara leads readers through an unmatched tale of political ambition and technical skill: the Truman administration’s controversial rebuilding of the White House.

In 1948, President Harry Truman, enjoying a bath on the White House’s second floor, almost plunged through the ceiling of the Blue Room into a tea party for the Daughters of the American Revolution. A handpicked team of the country’s top architects conducted a secret inspection of the troubled mansion and, after discovering it was in imminent danger of collapse, insisted that the First Family be evicted immediately. What followed would be the most historically significant and politically complex home-improvement job in American history. While the Trumans camped across the street at Blair House, Congress debated whether to bulldoze the White House completely, and the Soviets exploded their first atomic bomb, starting the Cold War.

Workmen digging the sub-basement in the demolished White House in 1950
Workmen digging the sub-basement in the demolished White House in 1950
(White House - Abbie Rowe)
Indefatigable researcher Robert Klara reveals what has, until now, been little understood about this episode: America’s most famous historic home was basically demolished, giving birth to today’s White House. Leaving only the mansion’s facade untouched, workmen gutted everything within, replacing it with a steel frame and a complex labyrinth deep below ground that soon came to include a top-secret nuclear fallout shelter,

The story of Truman’s rebuilding of the White House is a snapshot of postwar America and its first Cold War leader, undertaking a job that changed the centerpiece of the country’s national heritage. The job was by no means perfect, but it was remarkable—and, until now, all but forgotten.

My Review:
As stated above Robert Klara has done an excellent job researching and writing an engaging account of a house renovation. It also gives a great picture of the dysfunction of political committees. And it makes me appreciate Harry Truman quite a bit more. Imagine being president and having to live in a cramped little house.

The review copy I received was an ebook version and 25% of the book is taken up by the acknowledgment and endnotes. Very good proof that this book is thoroughly researched with ample citations. The many quotes served to make this a very engaging book on what could have easily been a dry topic.

At the beginning of each chapter is a photograph that relates to the chapter. I’ve included two pictures from whitehousemuseum.org that give you an idea of what a massive undertaking the reconstruction this was.

Workmen digging the basement under the North Portico in 1950
Workmen digging the basement under the North Portico in 1950
(White House - Abbie Rowe)

I learned a lot about the White House, Harry Truman, and life in Washington during the end of World War II and the start of the Cold War. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in history and particularly those topics.

five stars means "Go buy, borrow or beg this book right now!"



Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission.

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Remember - Anytime you visit Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com or ChristianBooks.com use an affiliate link to get there. Any purchase you make from a link on my site generates a small kickback. You need not purchase the item I'm featuring, any purchase counts. It costs you nothing extra and is an easy way to support this site.

Top Ten Sequels I Can't Wait To Get My Hands On


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Ran out of time to get this put together last week and didn't want to do this week's topic.

Top Ten Sequels I Can't Wait To Get My Hands On

1. Shadow Hand by Anne Elisabeth Stengl (book 6!)


2. Golden Daughter by Anne Elisabeth Stengl (book 7 announcement here)

3. Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson
Sequel to The Healer's Apprentice and The Fairest Beauty

4. Next book in the Queen's Thief series - after all the author can't just leave the threat of the Medes hanging over everyone unresolved, that's been building since the first book. Though it's taken Megan Whalen Turner 4-6 years to write each book and #4 was published in 2010 so I guess it'll be late 2014 or sometime in 2016 before we get book 5 and then it'll be another long wait for book 6. Sigh.

5. Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck
Sequel to Once Upon a Prince 

6. Caught in the Middle by Regina Jennings

Sequel to Sixty Acres and a Bride and Love in the Balance

7. Next book in the Castle Glower series by Jessica Day George coming sometime in the spring of 2014 

8. Next book in the Those Karlsson Boys series by Kimberly Rae Jordan

9. Captain Sunan's story, we get to know him in Goddess Tithe though he is first introduced in Veiled Rose, but there are so many teasers about his past! Anne Elisabeth is he in Golden Daughter? If not please write another novella soon!

10.What sequels are you eagerly awaiting?


Remember - Anytime you visit Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com or ChristianBooks.com use an affiliate link to get there. Any purchase you make from a link on my site generates a small kickback. You need not purchase the item I'm featuring, any purchase counts. It costs you nothing extra and is an easy way to support this site.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Gunpowder Tea by Margaret Brownley

book cover of Gunpowder Tea shows a wary man holding a tea cup while a woman in a blue dress is holding a small revolver behind her back while about to pour him some teaGunpowder Tea by Margaret Brownley. Thomas Nelson, 2013. 327p. (9781595549723) Series: The Brides of Last Chance Ranch, #3

I featured this book on a Waiting for Wednesday post. The cover is what caught my eye first. How many ladies pour tea while holding a revolver behind their back?  This is the third book in a series and I haven’t read the first two, though they are on my TBR list. I didn’t have any trouble reading this as a standalone book.

Goodreads Summary:
In a case that could change her career, Miranda uncovers a love that will change her life.

When Miranda Hunt sees the classified ad for an heiress to the legendary Last Chance Ranch, she knows assuming the identity of Annie Beckman is the perfect cover. As one of the finest agents for the Pinkerton Detective Agency, Miranda has been tasked with apprehending the Phantom – an elusive and notorious train robber thought to be hiding on the sprawling ranch.

But she isn’t the only one there with something to hide. Wells Fargo detective Jeremy Taggert is working the scene undercover as well. And although their true identities are a secret, it is impossible for Jeremy and Miranda to hide the spark that flares between them.

But neither is about to let romance interfere with such a huge case. Besides, Miranda hasn’t removed Jeremy from her list of suspects yet. The closer they come to uncovering the identity of the Phantom, the more dangerous he gets – and no one on the ranch is safe.

But neither are their hearts – the longer Miranda and Jeremy spends working together, the harder it becomes to keep their feelings in check. Their careers – and their lives – depend on solving this case. Love will have to wait.

My Review:
I enjoyed this story but as evidence by the fact that I finished the book probably a month ago and am just now getting around to writing the review, I didn’t completely love it. Problem is I don’t know why.

The plot moved along at a good pace and certainly started off exciting. A dead person gets shot during his memorial service. The excitement continues with a train robbery and a very feisty old lady. Not to mention the mystery that Miranda is trying to solve.

The characters are fun. Especially Miss Walker. I hope she’s in the first two books because I’d love to get to know her better! The interactions between Miranda and Jeremy were very enjoyable and I certainly laughed several times. The few people we got to know in town were also well written. Again, I hope some of them are in the first two books.

The plot is good, the mystery keeps you turning the pages and the characters are fun. As of my writing this the book has a 4.43 star average from 58 ratings on Goodreads so plenty of people have loved this book, but it didn’t quite capture my interest. Though I’ll still read the other books in this series at some point.

If you like western detective stories, especially ones involving female sleuths and the Pinkerton Detective Agency then take a look at this book.


3.5 stars for Gunpowder Tea
3.5 stars



Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission.

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Book Cover Bingo: Candle - The Merchant's Daughter

book cover of The Merchant's Daughter shows a young woman in a brocaded blue dress sitting by a fire holding a hand mirror reflecting the image of a scarred manThe Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson. Zondervan, 2011. 272p. (9780310727613)

I reread this last week as part of the Book Cover Bingo game I’m participating in the Goodreads group Christian Fiction Bloggers. The book had to have a candle on the cover and if you look closely there are six candles on the shelf behind her.

This book is actually the first book I reviewed for this blog, you can read my first impressions here. And I obviously enjoyed it so much I decided to reread it. More particularly because Melanie’s newest book, The Captive Maiden, releases this month.

Goodreads Summary:
An unthinkable danger. An unexpected choice. Annabel, once the daughter of a wealthy merchant, is trapped in indentured servitude to Lord Ranulf, a recluse who is rumored to be both terrifying and beastly. Her circumstances are made even worse by the proximity of Lord Ranulf's bailiff---a revolting man who has made unwelcome advances on Annabel in the past. Believing that life in a nunnery is the best way to escape the escalation of the bailiff's vile behavior and to preserve the faith that sustains her, Annabel is surprised to discover a sense of security and joy in her encounters with Lord Ranulf. As Annabel struggles to confront her feelings, she is involved in a situation that could place Ranulf in grave danger. Ranulf's future, and possibly his heart, may rest in her hands, and Annabel must decide whether to follow the plans she has cherished or the calling God has placed on her heart.

My Review:
What new thoughts can I share about this book? Last time I was struck by all the Beauty and the Beast tie-ins. Those are obviously still there, but this time I think I simply enjoyed the story of a young woman who is trying to do the right thing despite her family’s laziness and put-on airs.

Annabel also is doing her best to avoid and discourage unwanted attention from a man old enough to be her father. In the time that this story takes place, England in 1352, women couldn’t exactly sue because of sexual harassment. Then as sadly even now people often say that the girl bears some blame if she is raped (doesn’t happen in this story!) or harassed. Which is why Annabel’s plight is so precarious and she isn’t sure whom she can or should trust.

This book is more than just a classic fairy tale retelling and an excellent one at that; it speaks to the plight of women, glories in the joy of getting a chance to read the Holy Scriptures (especially in a time when books were rare and very expensive), and draws you into life at medieval manor house under construction.

Merchant's Daughter by Melanie Dickerson easily gets a five star review



Disclosure: I received this book from the library. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Remember - Anytime you visit Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com or ChristianBooks.com use an affiliate link to get there. Any purchase you make from a link on my site generates a small kickback. You need not purchase the item I'm featuring, any purchase counts. It costs you nothing extra and is an easy way to support this site.

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