Wednesday, September 25, 2013

WoW #28: Greetings from the Flipside by Rene Gutteridge and Cheryl McKay

"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:

Greetings from the Flipside by Rene Gutteridge & Cheryl McKay
B&H Books October 2013

Greetings from the Flipside by Rene Gutteridge and Cheryl McKay
About
Hope Landon has been rewriting other people's greeting cards since she was six years old -- there's always a funnier caption. She's all set to chase those creative dreams with her musician fiance in New York City until he leaves Hope at the altar, deciding he must not really love this girl if he can't write a song for her. That may give her something to write about . . .

Hope disappears alone on what was supposed to be the couple's monthlong honeymoon. Upon returning she learns of her funeral -- everyone in her life concluded Hope must have killed herself after being jilted. Needing a fresh start more than ever, she heads for the Big Apple only to discover it's not that easy to rent a place when you've been declared dead.

Taking shelter at the YWCA, Hope soon lands a job at a Christian inspirational greeting card company as an assistant to Jake, a guy who shut down his organization's humor department. She has lost her faith in love; he needs to find something or someone that will make him laugh.

Is there anything in the cards for these two? Find out in the truly original Greetings from the Flipside by authors Rene Gutteridge (Boo) and Cheryl McKay (screenplay for The Ultimate Gift).

Why I want to read it
First of all, thank you Abbi for featuring this book on your WoW a few weeks ago and bringing it to my attention! This sounds like a hilarious but with a tragic beginning comedy.

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, September 24, 2013

Top Ten Best Sequels Ever


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

In order to put together this list I went back through my Goodreads ratings and found books that were somewhere in a series other than first that I had rated higher than the first book.

Top Ten Best Sequels Ever


1. Evasions by Melanie M. Jeschke

(Sequel to Inklings and Evasions)

2. Sean Donovan by Lori Wick
(Sequel to Whatever Tomorrow Brings and As Time Goes By)

3. Lonestar Homecoming by Colleen Coble
(Sequel to Lonestar Sanctuary and Lonestar Secrets)

4. Die Pyramide des Sonnengottes by Karl May
(Sequel to Schloss Rodriganda)

5. Fame by Karen Kingsbury
(Beginning of second series in the Baxter Family series)

6. Rejoice by Karen Kingsbury
(Book four in the first series of the Baxter Family series)

7. Whispers of Moonlight by Lori Wick
(Sequel to Where the Wild Rose Blooms)

8. Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott
(Sequel to Eight Cousins

9. Searching for Dragons  by Patricia C. Wrede

10. Crown and Jewel by Jeri Massi
(Sequel to The Bridge)


Which sequels do you think are the best?

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, September 23, 2013

Goddess Tithe Cover Reveal!!!

My favorite series is just getting better. In addition to the regular novels, Anne Elisabeth Stengl has now written a novella! And she says it's the first one meaning there's more to come! How fun! And to make it extra special it's illustrated by the author herself. It releases November 12th, but between now and then, enjoy the cover, Anne Elisabeth's thoughts on creating the art work for this book, an excerpt, the first chapter and more!

The Vengeful Goddess
Demands Her Tithe


When a stowaway is discovered aboard the merchant ship Kulap Kanya, Munny, a cabin boy on his first voyage, knows what must be done. All stowaways are sacrificed to Risafeth, the evil goddess of the sea. Such is her right, and the Kulap Kanya's only hope to return safely home.
Yet, to the horror of his crew, Captain Sunan vows to protect the stowaway, a foreigner in clown's garb. A curse falls upon the ship and all who sail with her, for Risafeth will stop at nothing to claim her tithe.
Will Munny find the courage to trust his captain and to protect the strange clown who has become his friend?


Cover Design Intro:

I, Anne Elisabeth, had the fun of designing this cover—finding reference photos, inventing the composition, applying the text, etc.—but the actual artistic work was done by talented cover artist Phatpuppy (www.phatpuppyart.com), whose work I have admired for many years. It was such a thrill for me to contact and commission this artist to create a look for Goddess Tithe that is reminiscent of the original novels but has a style and drama all its own.

The boy on the front was quite a find. I hunted high and low for an image of a boy the right age, the right look, with the right expression on his face. Phatpuppy and I worked with a different model through most of the cover development stage. But then I happened upon this image, and both she and I were delighted with his blend of youth, stubbornness, and strength of character! It wasn’t difficult to switch the original boy for this young man. He simply is Munny, and this cover is a perfect window into the world of my story.

You can’t see it here, but the wrap-around back cover for the print copy contains some of the prettiest work . . . including quite a scary sea monster! Possibly my favorite detail is the inclusion of the ghostly white flowers framing the outer edge. These are an important symbol in the story itself, and when Phatpuppy sent me the first mock-up cover with these included, I nearly jumped out of my skin with excitement!



Intro to Illustration:
There are eight full-page illustrations in Goddess Tithe featuring various characters and events from the story. This is the first one in the book. I decided to share it with all of you since it depicts my young hero, Munny the cabin boy, under the watchful eye of his mentor, the old sailor Tu Pich. 
Munny is on his first voyage, and he is determined to learn all there is to know about a life at sea as quickly as possible. Thus we see him utterly intent upon the knot he is learning to tie. 
Tu Pich is old enough to know that no sailor will ever learn all there is to know about the sea. Thus he looks on, grave, caring, and perhaps a little sad. He might be looking upon his own younger self of many years ago, fumbling through the hundreds of difficult knots his fingers must learn to tie with unconscious ease.
I enjoyed creating all the illustrations for Goddess Tithe, but this one was my favorite. I love the contrasts of light and dark, the contrasts of young and old . . . youthful intensity versus the perspective of age.



Author Bio:
Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a kindle of kitties, and one long-suffering dog. When she’s not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and practices piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. She is the author of the Tales of Goldstone Wood,including Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood, Starflower, and Dragonwitch. Heartless and Veiled Rose have each been honored with a Christy Award, and Starflower was voted winner of the 2013 Clive Staples Award.


Giveaway:

Anne Elisabeth is offering two proof copies of Goddess Tithe as prizes! U.S. and Canada only, please.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make sure you explore the novella's website which includes the first chapter, how Anne Elisabeth got the idea, teasers about future books and an except from Veiled Rose that explains the connection to this tale.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears

Bride for Keeps by Melissa JagearsBride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears. Bethany House, 2013. 336p. (9780764211683) Series: A Bride for Keeps, #1

A debut novel that I enjoyed but also didn’t quite like something about. Took me a quite a while to figure out what that was too. But I’m still looking forward to the author’s future work since just about everybody improves over time.

Goodreads Summary:
Although Everett Cline can hardly keep up with the demands of his homestead, he won't humiliate himself by looking for a helpmate ever again--not after being jilted by three mail-order brides. When a well-meaning neighbor goes behind his back to bring yet another mail-order bride to town, he has good reason to doubt it will work, especially after getting a glimpse at the woman in question. She's the prettiest woman he's ever seen, and it's just not possible she's there to marry a simple homesteader like him.

Julia Lockwood has never been anything more than a pretty pawn for her father or a business acquisition for her former fiancé. Having finally worked up the courage to leave her life in Massachusetts, she's determined to find a place where people will value her for more than her looks. Having run out of all other options, Julia resorts to a mail-order marriage in far-away Kansas.

Everett is skeptical a cultured woman like Julia could be happy in a life on the plains, while Julia, deeply wounded by a past relationship, is skittish at the idea of marriage at all. When, despite their hesitations, they agree to a marriage in name only, neither one is prepared for the feelings that soon arise to complicate their arrangement. Can two people accustomed to keeping their distance let the barricades around their hearts down long enough to fall in love?

My Review:
When I read the summary I wanted to read this because ever since reading the Love Comes Softly series I have loved mail-order bride and marriage of convenience stories. I was expecting this to be similar to many that I’ve read. Woman needs home, man needs help with home. 

What I wasn’t expecting was the intense physical attraction Everett felt for Julia. Guess it makes sense for someone who has had to wait eighteen years to finally marry and whose wife is quite beautiful. But while he managed to squelch those feelings and turn away (most of the time), I felt like it detracted from the story a bit. To me it didn’t feel like he was loving, just lusting, even though his actions were considerate and he kept his distance. But then, they were married and physical attraction is certainly a good thing in marriage.

Image from http://www.log-cabin-adventures.com
I guess what it boils down to is his incredibly terrible timing. I mean, kissing her on the roof? Really, how dangerous is that. Course that does lead to an important plot twist… But then there’s when he kisses her after she prays. I know, I know. You’re thinking ‘well what’s so wrong with that?’ Nothing really, except for his behavior towards her leading up to that point made it seem like he was taking advantage of the situation.

Even though he wasn’t exactly, his heart and attitude toward her had changed and become way more caring, forgiving and loving. I wish we could have gotten to watch the change during those weeks after the accident rather than be told about it in hindsight. And come to think of it he showed admirable restraint during that whole time.

On the flipside, I did like the storyline of Julia having to overcome her belief that the only reason any man and even God would want her is because of her good looks. (I know, I can’t really have it both ways can I.) Julia’s plucky spirit, determination to work hard and willingness to learn make her a very engaging character. It makes the reader root for her to overcome her past and for Everett to quit being such a quiet fool.

And I think I just figured out why I didn’t like this book as much as I thought I would (high expectations are a lousy thing). I wanted to like Everett more than I did. I wanted to love him. I loved Julia and all the other characters. I even like what the despicable neighbor contributed to the plot. Now mind you, I don’t like him, but he does add to the story.

But I just didn’t completely love Everett. You know he’s a good guy; funny, hard working, caring. And you also know that he’s had a rough time finding a bride and is a little distrustful (ok, that’s an understatement) of mail order brides. You know he’s good looking and is an excellent nurse. But for all that, I still only ended up liking him and not loving him.

So there you have it. I loved the girl and the cast, enjoyed the story, but only liked the guy. It’s an enjoyable read while still dealing with some heavy issues. A clean romance even though there are a few kisses and more is clearly desired. If you enjoy mail-order bride stories, fiction set on the 1870s Kansas prairie or stories about forgiveness and overcoming mistrust, then you just might like this one.

3.75 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, September 18, 2013

WoW #27: A Reluctant Courtship by Laurie Alice Eakes

"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:

A Reluctant Courtship by Laurie Alice Eakes
Series: The Daughters of Bainbridge House, #3
Baker - October 2013

A Reluctant Courtship by Laurie Alice Eakes
About
A woman without a prospect. A man without a homeland. Can love give them a future

Honore Bainbridge has been courted by two men, one of whom turned out to be a traitor, the other a murderer. Banished to her family's country estate, where she will hopefully stay out of trouble, she finally meets the man she is sure is exactly right for her: Lord Ashmoor. Tall, dark, and handsome--what more could a girl ask for?

But he too is under suspicion because of his American upbringing and accusations that he has helped French prisoners escape from Dartmoor Prison. If he's to keep out of a British prison himself and secure his place in British society, Lord Ashmoor needs a wife beyond reproach--something the vexingly beautiful Honore certainly is not. Though they find themselves drawn to each other, family obligations may conspire to keep them apart forever.

For the sake of her heart, Honore determines to prove Ashmoor's innocence--even if doing so risks her own life.

From the first sentence, award-winning author Laurie Alice Eakes thrusts you into high drama amid the rocky cliffs of Devonshire, England, and keeps you suspended there until the final page.

Why I want to read it
Books one and two, Necessary Deception and Flight of Fancy looked quite interesting and Flight had a memorable cover. Both are on my TBR list and this one will certainly join them. This doesn't sound like a dull tale and now I'm curious how the author works everything out.

Where you can find 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.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Safe in His Arms by Colleen Coble

cover of Safe in His Arms by Colleen Coble Safe in His Arms by Colleen Coble. ThomasNelson, 2013. 320p. (9781595549143) Series: Under Texas Stars, #2

Last year I read book one in this series, Blue Moon Promise, and while I didn’t love book one, I did enjoy it enough to want to find out what happens to other characters in the story.

Goodreads Summary:
Born and raised on sprawling Texas land, Margaret O’Brien prides herself on her competence as a rancher. But her father believes she’s made for more than just dawn-to-dusk work. He wants her to have the love of a good man, to raise children, to build a life. But Margaret gave up such dreams years ago. She’s convinced no man would have her, that the ranch is her life now.

So when Margaret’s father hires Daniel Cutler as a new foreman, she’s frustrated and suspicious. Then an overheard conversation links him with a gang of bank robbers, and she’s downright worried. Daniel swears he’s not involved, but Margaret’s not convinced. She knows the man still has secrets. But would a criminal be so kind and talk so convincingly of his faith? As a series of tragic “accidents” threatens all she holds dear, Margaret must decide what to trust: her own ears, her best judgment . . . or what her heart keeps telling her.

My Review:
Interesting observation: the girl on the book cover on the Barnes & Noble site has different color hair than on any other site.

B&N cover of Safe in His Arms by Colleen CobleFirst off I need to confess that I read this book back in March and I still haven’t written the review. I know, I’m sure you’re thinking what a terrible prompt reviewer I am. But I guess I just didn’t love this book as much as I was hoping or expecting too and thus just put it off. I did manage to give it 3 stars on Goodreads though.

Which makes it really hard to go back and write the review now. [Takes a break to go skim most of book.] Ok, I’ve read with a tad of skimming 33% and I’ve got to admit I’m hooked again. I remember how some things turn out but can’t remember the details. Guess I’ll be up late tonight reading the rest of it after I post this. :-)

The story draws you in and it’s easy to picture Margaret’s ire with Daniel. The characters are well rounded and biblical truths are gently woven in.

The author is known for suspenseful fiction and this is no exception. There are several mysteries that are waiting to be figured out and most of them swirl around Daniel. It’s nice having his point of view as well. Though that just adds to the mystery.

If you suspenseful, historical, Christian romance then this book and most of the author’s other books are worth checking out.
3 stars - It's a fluff book - no real substance, but a fun read
3.5 stars
4 stars - 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.

Liebster Award


Kara, from A BookLover's Heart, nominated my blog for the Liebster Award! 

The rules:
~Link back to the blogger that tagged you.
~Nominate ten others and answer the questions from the blogger that tagged you.
~Ask ten questions for the bloggers you nominate.
~Let your nominees know of their award.

My answers to Kara's questions:
Anne Elisabeth Stengl
1. Who is your favorite author (s) and why?
Such a hard question! Thank you for including the "(s)". Among current author's I definitely would put Anne Elisabeth Stengl at the top, Melanie Dickerson, Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, and Julie Klassen just to name a few. They are also all on my must-read-their-newest-book-when-it-comes-out list. My older favorite authors are J.R.R. Tolkien, Karl May, C.S. Lewis, Louisa May Alcott, G.A. Henty, Martha Finley, and Jane Austen.

2. What do you enjoy most about blogging and would you recommend it to others?
To be perfectly honest, I like getting free books to review the best. ;-) And a close second is interacting with authors and other book lovers. I'm finding that I'm less thrilled about the writing side of writing a blog :P but I probably just need a good dose of motivation and an anti-laziness pill. 
I would recommend book blogging (in particular) to anyone who loves books, loves sharing books, wants to get to know authors better and someone who doesn't mind writing.

The Chance by Karen Kingsbury3. Is there a book you didn’t think you’d like, but you ended up loving it?
Hard question, I have a tendency to forget things I don’t like. … Well, one author I didn't think would be quite my cup of tea (I don't know why!) was Karen Kingsbury. Then last fall I read The Bridge and loved it, last spring I read The Chance and loved it. And then between May and July I read the entire Baxter Family saga series and loved those.
There were a few books that I had to read for school that I wasn't too sure I'd like but Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham and The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster were both pleasant surprises that have stuck in my memory.

Photo credit: El Monte RV Rentals
4. What would be your ideal vacation spot or your dream vacation?
Three weeks camping, no make that RVing (since this is a dream vacation) in a national park. It'd be really ideal if there were a number of other national parks within an easy day trip's drive and a good library within non-strenuous biking distance.

5. How many books are on your TBR shelf?
According to the incomplete Goodreads list, 232. Hmm, nope take that back, I added a few more since writing that.

6. What is your favorite spot to read?
My bed, the couch, at the dining table while eating.

7.  Do you have a favorite snack while reading?
Nope. I get too absorbed into the story to even think about eating. Except if I'm reading while eating a meal.

8. Which blogger has inspired you the most?
Kara (http://karathewriter.blogspot.com/) has been the most encouraging. 
Anne Elisabeth (http://anneelisabethstengl.blogspot.com/) is always interesting to read.
And I think I looked at Abbi's (http://writingchristiannovels.blogspot.com/) and Melanie's (http://christianbookshelfreviews.blogspot.com/) the most when figuring out the book blogging world.

9. What are your other hobbies (besides reading)?
I do like to cross stitch (but haven't done that much recently), I spend more time than I should on Facebook games (when I have internet), playing flute, and then computer games such as Civilization III, Age of Empires, Oregon Trail, and Roller Coaster Tycoon are some of my favorites if I'm in the mood for that. But in reality, reading is my main hobby.

10. What’s one of your biggest book pet peeves?
Seeing kids mistreat books. Since I'm a school librarian I cringe everytime a book gets dumped into the book return box and gets it's covers or pages bent up. Also if a book is returned wet. Especially by a high schooler! They should know how to keep their drink bottle cap tight. (This happened last week so it's a fresh and annoying memory.)

My Questions (some I came up with on my own, the rest were inspired (or copied) from other blogs):
1. Why did you decide to start a blog?
2. What is one thing on your bucket list that realistically you probably won't check off?
3. What is your favorite genre and why?
4. Which would you rather be, divinely beautiful, or dazzlingly clever, or angelically good?
5. If you could meet one person, living, dead, or fictional, who would it be and why?
6. If you were given 3 wishes, one for you, one for your community, and one for the world, what would they be?
7. List five books or series that you'd like to own.
8. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go (money doesn't matter)?
9. Gilbert Blythe, Mr. Darcy, Sir Percy, or Aragorn?
10. What's the last thing you ate?

I don't expect all these bloggers to participate, but since the purpose is to share blogs that you love (liebster means beloved after all) I nominate...
Anne Elisabeth ~ Tales of Goldstone Wood
Charity ~ Austenitis
Emily & Janie ~ Redeemed Reader
Mulitple Authors ~ Colonial Quills (they have some really fascinating tidbits on history)
(Ok, I know that's not ten, but two of them are by multiple people, so it does add up in the end...)


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Lock, Stock and Over a Barrel by Melody Carlson

cover of Lock, Stock and Over a Barrel by Melody Carlson shows a Victorian cottage, white picket fence and a set of old keysLock, Stock and Over a Barrel by Melody Carlson. B&H, 2013. 320p. (9781433679308) Series: Dear Daphne, #1

One thing I really appreciated about this book is that it didn’t solve all her problems in a 320 page time span, it didn’t try to cram in a year’s worth of struggles and life lessons, but rather set a slow and steady pace and didn’t rush the what Daphne was experiencing.

Goodreads Summary:
With high hopes, Daphne Ballinger lands her dream job at The New York Times. But it's not long until writing about weddings becomes a painful reminder of her own failed romance, and her love of the city slowly sours as well. Is it time to give up the Big Apple for her small hometown of Appleton?

When her eccentric Aunt Dee passes away and leaves a sizeable estate to Daphne, going back home is an easy choice. What isn’t easy is coming to terms with the downright odd clauses written into the will.

Daphne only stands to inherit the estate if she agrees to her aunt's very specific posthumous terms -- personal and professional. And if she fails to comply, the sprawling old Victorian house shall be bequeathed to . . . Aunt Dee’s cats.

And if Daphne thinks that’s odd, wait until she finds out an array of secrets about Aunt Dee's life, and how imperfect circumstances can sometimes lead to God's perfect timing.

My Review:
When I first spotted this book this summer I knew it would be an interesting read. So I was quite excited when I was able to get a chance from NetGalley to review it. And it didn’t disappoint.

Daphne is a very likable character who has gotten stuck in her life and job – not that she’s complaining though. She’s smart and funny, yet she has very real worries and confusion about life, love and the future. I really enjoyed her Dear Daphne letters to herself and watching her faith and trust in God grow.

copper 1955 corvette
copper 1955 corvette
The other characters are just as delightful (well, minus that one guy) and even those this is the first book in the series and lots of people had to be introduced, they are still fleshed out. But I’m still eager to get to know them better. Especially Mick and Ricardo.

Fun fact: The copper 1955 corvette that Aunt Dee had really is a rare car and in 2011 one was found after 45 years in storage. Makes me wonder if the author heard about that while thinking about this book.

Melody Carlson writes clean romance stories and this one is no exception. There are a few kisses and Daphne is caught unawares in her pjs once.

four stars - 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.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

WoW #26: A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears

"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:

A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears
Series: The Daughters of Bainbridge House
Baker - October 2013

A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears
About
Everett Cline will never humiliate himself by seeking a mail-order bride. Not again. He's already been jilted by three mail-order brides and figures a wife just isn't in his future. However, a well-meaning neighbor hasn't given up on seeing him settled, so she goes behind his back to bring yet another woman to town for him.

Julia Lockwood has never been anything more than a pretty pawn for her father or a business acquisition for her former fiance. A mail-order marriage in faraway Kansas is a last resort, but she'll do anything to leave her life in Massachusetts and the heartbreak she's experienced there.

Although Everett doesn't see how a beautiful, cultured woman like Julia could be happy sharing his simple life, he could really use a helpmate on his homestead. Determined to prove she's more than just a pretty face, Julia agrees to a marriage in name only. Faced with the harsh realities of life on the prairie and hesitant to explore the tentative feelings growing between them, can Everett and Julia ever let each other in long enough to fall in love?

Why I want to read it
I enjoy mail-order bride stories and this one has a twist I haven't read before. Jilted three times?! I'm looking forward to getting to know Everett. Julia too, but I think her's is a bit more common of a story.

Where you can find 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, September 10, 2013

Top Ten Books I Would Love To See As A Movie


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

This is a fun topic! But it must of course be stated that the stories must not be significantly altered, changed, edited or otherwise manipulated into a different story.

Top Ten Books I Would Love To See As A Movie/TV Show

1. Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw



2. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

(can't you just see them in a row boat approaching the island as it's wrapped in mist?!)

3. Seven Daughters and Seven Sons by Barbara Cohen


4. The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis
(when, oh when, will someone finally get around to making a movie of one of my favorite Narnia tales?!?!)

5. The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis
(when, oh when, will someone finally get around to making a movie of my other favorite Narnia tale?!?!)


6. Starflower by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
(of all the books so far in the series I think this one would translate best to the silver screen, though I'm not looking forward to seeing those black dogs!)


7. Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
(And they'd probably pull in ideas from the next few books too...)

8. Ranger's Apprentice Series by John Flanagan


9. Peter and the Starcatchers by John Berry and Ridley Pearson

10. The Messenger by Siri Mitchell

What books would you love to see on the silver screen or as a TV series?

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.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The House that Love Built by Beth Wiseman

cover of The House that Love Built by Beth Wiseman shows a man and woman holding each other closeThe House that Love Built by Beth Wiseman. Thomas Nelson, 2013. 320p. (9781595548894)

This was a new to me author and I wasn’t quite sure how much I would enjoy the story based on the summary. Happily I had no cause for concern and quite enjoyed Broke and Owen’s story.

Goodreads Summary:
Brooke has only loved one man. Owen's heart is filled with bitterness. Can a mysterious house bring them together for a second chance at love?

In the small town of Smithville, Texas, Brooke Holloway is raising six-year-old Meghan and ten-year-old Spencer on her own two years after her husband's death. Being a single-mom and running the family's local hardware store keep her busy.

While Meghan longs for a daddy, Spencer has threatened to run away if Brooke even goes out on a date. But the last thing on Brooke's mind is falling in love. When a stranger moves to town and buys a house with a mysterious past, Brooke can't contain her curiosity. As she spends time with the new owner, she wonders if maybe God is giving her another chance at happiness.

Owen Saunders fled the big city to start over in a small, rural town famous for baking the world's largest gingerbread man. Then he bought an old house to restore-for all the wrong reasons. If anything needs restoration, it is Owen's heart in the aftermath of his failed marriage. With little hope and lost faith, Owen is tempted by happiness when he meets Brooke, but his heart remains sealed shut.

As they learn more about Owen's house, one thing becomes obvious to both of them: God has put them together for a reason.

My Review:
There were so many stories woven into the plot – yet it wasn’t overwhelming as the stories are woven together quite seamlessly and make the tale a lot richer.

I really liked the mystery surrounding the house and the restoration work that was part of the story; those aspects (and a few other plot twists) kept it from becoming a ‘grieving man meets grieving woman and fall in love while helping heal each other’ story.

While writing this review I ended up rereading most of the books since I originally read this back in the spring. And I enjoyed getting to visit again with Brooke and Owen and Hunter and the rest of the characters. There’s a fair amount of kissing but it’s not described in any swoon-inducing detail, just simply and sweetly stated.

This is Christian fiction but it’s not the preachy kind and I almost wish there had been a little bit more about God and/or the Bible. Both Brooke and Owen are mad at God for various reasons and have let their faith take a back burner so there really isn’t much in the story until the end.

If you enjoy sweet, clean, contemporary romance stories where the characters overcome bitterness and difficult situations in their past then you might enjoy this one.

I'd rate it 3.5 butterflies, but since I haven't added .5's into my scale yet I'll let you figure out what falls in between 'It's a fluff book - no real substance, but a fun read' and 'Worth the read and the re-read'.

Three butterflies means it's a fluff book - no real substance, but a fun readFour butterflies means it's 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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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

WoW #25: Rebellious Heart by Jody Hedlund

"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:

Rebellious Heart by Jody Hedlund
Bethany House - September 15, 2013

Rebellious Heart by Jody Hedlund
About
Massachusetts, 1763

A Love That Would Shape History Forever

Because she's a woman, higher learning was always closed to Susanna Smith. But her quick mind and quicker tongue never back down from a challenge. And she's determined to marry well, so she'll be able to continue her work with the less fortunate.

Growing up with little to his name, poor country lawyer Benjamin Ross dreams of impacting the world for the better. When introduced to the Smiths he's taken by Susanna's intelligence and independent spirit, but her parents refuse to see him as a suitor for their daughter.

When the life of a runaway indentured servant is threatened, Susanna is forced to choose between justice and mercy, and Ben becomes her unlikely advisor. But drawing closer to this man of principle and intellect lands her in a dangerous, secret world of rebellion and revolution against everything she once held dear.

Why I want to read it
Jody Hedlund wrote Doctor's Lady, A Noble Groom and Unending Devotion. All books that I've enjoyed. Plus I really like the American Revolutionary era though this predates the war by about a decade.

Where you can find it
Amazon and ChristianBooks and Barnes & Noble


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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, September 3, 2013

Top Ten Books That You Wish Were Taught In Schools


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

I never liked being forced to read a book and was thus predisposed to not like it as much. But hopefully that would never happen to these books!

Top Ten Books That You Wish Were Taught In Schools

1. Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Spry
The flora and fauna is a very jumbled mix but it's a great story of a ship wrecked family!

2. Snow Treasure by Mary McSwigan
Great adventure based off of true events set during WWII for elementary kids.

3. Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
Supposedly it's a commentary on the economic policy of the day, but I just read it as a fun story, so to actually learn about the commentary side would be interesting. But then, the teacher would probably ruin the fun story part...

4. Romans from the Holy Bible
A long time ago it was used in a Harvard class to teach logic. (I read that somewhere a long time ago and tried to find a good online source but in the 4 minutes I spent searching only found other people asking the same thing or an un-cited source stating it.)

5. Beric the Briton by G.A. Henty
One of my favorite Henty tales - I know what a phalanx is because of this book. Tells the adventure of a Beric, who grows into manhood when Rome was conquering Briton.

6. 1776 by David McCullough
Maybe kids would find history more interesting if they got to read stories of it instead of textbooks...

7. Bruchko by Bruce Olson
Facinating account of a man who lived with a Colombian jungle tribe who had little if any contact with the rest of the world.

8. Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington
Great autobiography! I read it for school (homeschool!), but I don't think it's standard fare.

9. Battle of Wits: complete story of code breaking in World War II by Stephen Budiansky
Borrowed this from the library in college and while the amount of information was overwhelming it gave a great picture of what it took to break the Enigma and the Purple encryption machine generated codes.

10. Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
I read this for school also, a very interesting account of how a math genius changed navigation forever.

What books do you wish kids were taught or asked to read in school?

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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