Friday, February 28, 2014

February Recap

Well, another month has bit the dust. This year is flying by already. I think I want it to slow down just a little...but, I don't think that will happen for a bit.

Even though Feb. (I hate spelling this month out, someone decided it would be fabulous to throw an extra "R" in for fun) was short in the days, I think I kept pretty good pace with the reading. This has been a wonderful month for books. I've enjoyed them quite a bit!  Each story had something fun to offer or to think about.

For Review:
 All Things Hidden by Tracie Peterson & Kimberley Woodhouse (Bethany House)
Friend Me by John Faubion (Litfuse Publicity)
The Thief by Stephanie Landsem (Litfuse Publicity)
Review will be posted in March with the blog tour.
In the Shadow of Jezebel by Mesu Andrews (Revell Blog Tour)
Review will be posted in March with blog tour.
Shades of Mercy by Anita Lustrea & Caryn Rivadeneira (River North)
The Dream Dress by Janice Thompson (Revell Blog Tour)
Sadie's Secret by Kathleen Y'Barbo (Harvest House)
Distortion by Terri Blackstock (Litfuse Publicity)
Review will be posted in March with blog tour.
Where Courage Calls by Janette Oke & Laurell Oke Logan
Review will be posted in March with blog tour.
The Heart's Pursuit by Robin Lee Hatcher (GoodReads Giveaway)


Bought:
Isle of Shadows by Tracy L. Higley


How was your month of reading? Was there any particular book that just captured your attention?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Yankee in Atlanta

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. Each week allows you to spotlight an up and coming release you are looking forward to.

Waiting On:
Title: Yankee in Atlanta
Author: Jocelyn Green
Publisher: River North
Publication Date: June 1st, 2014

Synopsis: 
From GoodReads 
When soldier Caitlin McKae wakes up in Atlanta wounded in battle, the Georgian doctor treating her believes her only secret is that Caitlin had been fighting for the Confederacy disguised as a man. In order to avoid arrest or worse, Caitlin hides her true identity as a Union loyalist and makes a new life for herself in Atlanta. 

Trained as a teacher, she accepts a job as a governess for Noah Becker, a German immigrant lawyer, who is about to enlist with the Rebel army-when the Federal army threatens his homeland, he feels he must defend Georgia to protect his daughter. 

Once he leaves, Caitlin is in charge of seven-year-old Analiese. Thieves steal much of her food supply, and Noah isn't paid for months. Soaring inflation makes most things unaffordable, and Caitlin and her charge fight starvation. 

Then in the spring of 1864, Sherman's troops edge closer to Atlanta. Caitlin tries to escape north with the girl, but is arrested on charges of being a spy. Will honor dictate that Caitlin follow the rules, or love demand that she break them?

Why I'm Waiting:
The historical detail that Jocelyn Green applies to her stories is fantastic! She is able to transport the reader back in time. From the Civil War you generally hear about the men who fought, but women played an important roll as well, and these books are a wonderful tribute.

What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Review: The Dream Dress by Janice Thompson

Title: The Dream Dress
Author: Janice Thompson
Publisher: Revell
Pages: 336
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2154-1
Publication Date: February 18th, 2014

Synopsis:
Big dreams take big leaps of faith . . . but what if you trip on the way?

A lowly seamstress at a swanky bridal boutique, Gabi Delgado dreams of doing more than ripping out seams and fitting dresses to doe-eyed brides. She wants to see her own original dress designs gracing the young women of Texas. But when Jordan Singer, reporter for Texas Bride magazine, visits the shop to do a feature, Gabi is humbled in his influential—and unnervingly handsome—presence.

Convinced she'll never get her dreams off the ground now, Gabi needs lots of encouragement—especially from her friend Bella Neeley—to take a chance and start her business. And as she gets to know Jordan, she discovers that she may have to take a chance on love as well.
Review:
The Dream Dress was such an interesting idea for a story. Usually in a romantic book, the story is a build up to the proposal/wedding. Here, we get to experience the fun and frustrations of planning weddings right off the bat, just not that of the main character. We get to experience the stress and strain of wedding through that of Gabi, a seamstress at a high end wedding dress boutique, who dreams of one day being able to create and sale her own designs.

I also enjoyed this story for another reason. Yes, there is a budding romance between Jordan and Gabi, but the love story in this book focused more on Gabi discovering God's love for her. Throughout the book, Gabi is faced with hard choices in her job and personal life and through these choices she grows as a person and slowly discovers what God has planned for her and her life. That part of the story really touched me.

It was a little hard to get settled into the story at the beginning. Gabi has low self esteem. It's hard for me to connect to a character that berates herself, however, as I read through the book, Gabi grew on me because she was able to work on her fears and start putting her faith in God and having more faith in what she herself can do and not listen to the people around her. Gabi's transformation in The Dream Dress was a delight.

Too Read
4 out of 5

About the Author:
Janice Thompson is a seasoned romance author and screenwriter. An expert at pulling the humor from the situations we get ourselves into, Thompson offers an inside look at the wedding business, drawing on her own experiences as a wedding planner. She is the author of the hugely popular Weddings by Bella series and the Backstage Pass series, as well as Picture Perfect, The Icing on the Cake, and The Dream Dress. She lives in Texas. Learn more at www.janiceathompson.com.





Thank you to Revell Blog Tour, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (32)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Each week allows you the oppertunity to spotlight the books you received this past week. They can be books for review, borrowed, bought, or won.

Review:
 Dancing with Fireflies by Denise Hunter (Litfuse Publicity)
In the Shadow of Jezebel by Mesu Andrews (Revell Blog Tour)
In the Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton (From the Author)
A Heart's Rebellion by Ruth Axtel (Revell Blog Tour)

I've been looking forward to these books and I'm so thrilled to be able to read them soon!

How was your book week?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review: The Heart's Pursuit by Robin Lee Hatcher

Title: The Heart's Pursuit 
Author: Robin Lee Hatcher
Publisher: Zondervan
Pages: 352
ISBN: 978-0-3102-5927-5
Publication Date: May 13th, 2014

Synopsis:
A Colorado beauty abandoned at the altar. A rugged bounty hunter haunted by his past. In this dramatic historical novel by best-selling author Robin Lee Hatcher, two wounded hearts join forces in a pursuit across the Old West. 

Silver Matlock is a Colorado beauty in search of revenge against the man who stranded her at the altar and fled with the remnant of her family's fortune. She is determined to find the man who betrayed her trust.

 Jared Newman, rugged as the West itself, is relentless in his pursuit of lawless men---but unable to escape his own tragic past. Hardened by his life as a bounty hunter, he must learn to forgive before he loses his soul. 

Joining forces, the two set out in search of Silver's betrayer. The handsome but embittered Jared finds himself powerfully drawn to the beautiful woman whose drive for justice equals his own. But lack of honesty keeps Silver and Jared from fully trusting each other, even as a shocking revelation intensifies their pursuit of the cunning---and deadly---quarry.
Review:
A young woman jilted at the alter after having her family's fortune stolen by her now ex fiancee and desperate to right the wrong, a murderer on the loose, who no one can identify except by a scar, and a bounty hunter on the hunt for revenge. It sounds like a premises to a thrilling new movie, but it is not, it is Robin Lee Hatcher's new book!

The Heart's Pursuit was a fast pace adventure that took place through several different states as Silver Matlock and Jared Newman, each pursued their own form of retribution to past crimes against them, not knowing what lies ahead for their future. In their travels Silver and Jared face many obstacles that they had to figure out to overcome. Dealing with either personal, past, and physical injuries. Each obstacle offered a learning moment for the characters that allowed the reader deeper into their lives.

This story is a little different than previous books I've read by Robin Lee Hatcher, and that isn't a bad thing at all! This was a thrilling tale of of finding a path to forgiveness and healing for both of these characters, all set in the back drop of the wonderful wild west. How can you go wrong with the gorgeousness of the western frontier...you can't!

Too Read
4 out of 5

About the Author:
Robin is the author of 65+ novels and novellas. Her home is in Idaho, where she spends her time writing stories of faith, courage, and love; pondering the things of God; and loving her family and friends.







I won this book from the GoodReads First Read giveaway, all opinions are my own, I was not required to post a positive review.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Captured by Love

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. Each week gives you the opportunity to spotlight an up-and-coming release you can't wait to read.

Waiting On:
Title: Captured by Love
Author: Jody Hedlund
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: July 1st, 2014

Synopsis:
From GoodReads
It is 1814 and the British have taken hold of Mackinac Island and its fort, forcing American residents to swear an oath of loyalty to the British crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a voyageur--a fur trader who left his family home to find freedom and adventure. He's been gone five years and when he returns, his family's farm is at the mercy of the British invaders. 

Torn between the life he's grown used to and guilt over leaving his brother and mother, he's drawn back into the loyalist fight against the British--and into a relationship with Angelique Labelle, a beautiful local girl who's been befriended by the daughter of the British commander. As tensions mount and the threat of violence increases, both Angelique and Pierre must decide where their loyalties rest, how far they will go to find freedom, and how much they will risk to find love.
Why I'm Waiting:
Jody Hedlund has become one of my favorite authors in this past year. The attention to detail and her ability to create characters that tug at you heart is fantastic. I can't wait to read her latest story!


What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Reasons I love Being a Reader/Book Blogger

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week features a book/blog related topic that allows you to highlight your Top Ten.

Topic:
Top Ten Reasons I Love Being A Blogger/Reader

1. I love being a reader...
because I always having something fun to do in my down time.
2. I love being a reader....
because I can visit different times and places with out leaving my home.
3. I love being a reader...
because I can share this passion with the kiddo.
4. I love being a reader...
because it keeps my mind sharp and allows me to keep learning.
5. I love being a reader...
because I can look at my bookshelf and see the books on their shelf like a trophy. Each book read is an accomplishment.
6. I love being a book blogger...
because of the wonderful people I've met. So many people share the love for reading and it is a delight to discuss books with others.
7. I love being a reader & book blogger...
because I get to meet new authors, whether discovering a new book or an author through social media.
8. I love being a book blogger....
 because I am able to get a glimpse into the marketing world through publicist and their jobs. There is so much that goes on to get a book on the shelf and into readers hands.
9. I love being a reader...
because books will always be there. They are a part of our past and will be a part of our future. Books seem to be limitless. There will always be something to read.
10. I love being a reader & blogger....
because I can share the love of books with everyone. It gives me the opportunity to share through writing, which I love to do, through the blog, or speaking to others.


What do you love about reading/blogging?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

And the winners are....


I'm happy to say we have three winners for the Shades of Mercy giveaway!!!

Congratulations to...
Carol L.
Julie L.
R Merr

Y'alls books will be in the mail to you soon!

Thank you everyone who participated in the giveaway! It's so much fun for me to share the book love. Thank you also to River North for the opportunity to host!


Stacking the Shelves (31)


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It gives you the opportunity to spotlight the books you have gotten this past week, whether they were for review, bought, borrowed, or won.

Review:
Echos of Mercy by Kim Vogel Sawyer (Blogging for Books)
Merlin's Shadow by Robert Treskillard (BookLook)
Wildwood Creek by Lisa Wingate (Bethany House)

Won:
The Heart's Pursuit by Robin Lee Hatcher (GoodReads)

Bought:
Arena by Karen Hancock


How was your book week?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Review: Sadie's Secret by Kathleen Y'Barbo

Title: Sadie's Secret
Author: Kathleen Y'Barbo
Publisher: Harvest House
Pages: 351
ISBN: 978-0-7369-5215-6
Publication Date: February 1st, 2014

Synopsis:

Louisiana, 1890--Sarah Louise "Sadie" Callum is a master of disguise, mostly due to her training as a Pinkerton agent but also from evading overprotective brothers as she grew up. When she takes on a new assignment with international connections, she has no idea her new cover will lead her on the adventure of a lifetime.

Undercover agent William Jefferson Tucker is not looking for marriage--pretend or otherwise--but his past is a secret, his twin brother has stolen his present, and his future is in the hands of the lovely Sadie Callum. Without her connections to the world of upper-crust New Orleans, Jefferson might never find a way to clear his name and solve the art forgery case that has eluded him for years.

Only God can help these two secret agents find a way to solve their case and uncover the truth about what is going on in their hearts.
Review:
Kathleen Y'Barbo finishes strong with her third book in The Secret Lives of Will Tucker series, Sadie's Secret. Historical fiction, comedy, mystery, adventure romance, and a fantastically swoon worthy male lead, with that combination, you can't go wrong!

Sarah Louise "Sadie" Callum is a fun character to read about. She has wonderful strength to her, but she never loses her ladylike quality. She knows how to do her job and she is proud of it. However, she is also a girl who loves her family dearly, and in doing so, has kept her family in the dark about her job as a Pinkerton agent. Trying to keep her two lives separate is hard, but offers a bit of humor when one or two of her five brothers track her down to make sure she is OK.

William Jefferson Tucker is a very swoon worthy lead, smart, articulate, handsome... however he has one small thing going against him, he is the identical twin to William John "Will" Tucker, who is being sought after by the Pinkerton Agency. Because of this, Jefferson Tucker finds himself in a tough situation, when he lands in jail as his brother. Even with all of his training in London, it is no help when he is thrown behind bars. It is only with a discovery that Sadie Callum discovers in the case files that allows for Jefferson to be released. It is at this time, Sadie and Jefferson start on their unique alliance to apprehend Will Tucker.

I really enjoyed reading about Sadie and Jefferson in Sadie's Secret. Not only is this a fun story about these two characters, but throughout the book, Sadie is trying to figure out who she really is and what life she really wants to live. She's trying to find out what she wants to do with her life and if she is losing her ability to perform her job, it also doesn't help that Sadie's mother believes she knows what Sadie needs and is trying to push into her ideas without consulting Sadie in the process.. Jefferson is in the same boat, after having a year of his life taken form him, he's trying to find footing. Not only had he lost a year, but he lost is job and he is left trying to figure out the right action to take. It is topic that many people can relate to.

The ending of the story wrapped things up nicely and revealed some fun secrets that Sadie didn't even know about. I can't wait to see what comes next from Kathleen Y'Barbo.

Too Read
4.5 out of 5

About the Author:
Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of fifty novels with almost two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad and nominations including a Career Achievement Award, Reader’s Choice Awards, Romantic Times Book of the Year, and several Romantic Times Top Picks. A proud military wife and tenth-generation Texan, she now cheers on her beloved Aggies from north of the Red River. Find out more at www.kathleenybarbo.com.





Thank you to Harvest House, I received a copy of the book for free in exchange for an honest review.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Bookish Toughts

As I was reading my latest book, Where Courage Calls by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan, I started to think a head to my book review I would write. However, as I started to think, it turned more into a walk down memory lane.

What I mean by that is that the first Christian fiction I ever read was Love Comes Softly by Janette Oke. It was given to my by an aunt on Christmas. I was about 14-15 years old. To this point I had read a lot of classics. I think all of  Louisa May Alcott, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Charlotte Bronte, and also a bunch of middle grade (in today's terms) of kid fiction, Fudge, Super Fudge...the mouse on the motorcycle..I can't remember the name... and let's not forget American Girl books. Good ol' kid of the 90's books.

I remember starting Love Comes Softly that Christmas night. I was hooked! I then proceeded to read the three other stories that came in the gift box, which I still have. I then found the four books that came after that, then I devoured When calls the Heart Series and all the others. I even read the spin off of Love Comes Softly. Once I read all of the books out by Janette Oke, I then moved on to other authors. Little by little, I started becoming acquainted with more and more authors, till my library had grown and overflowed my shelves.

It's amazing the impact one author can have on a person. I'm so thankful for that gift one Christmas and the beginning it gave me in a new genre of books I hadn't thought about visiting. I didn't know much about it at that time, but that thankfully has changed.

These books also opened the world of history to me. It's because of these historical fiction books, that I found a love if history. I wanted to see what the time really was like during the settings of these books and as I read and learned, the love kept growing (and mind you, this was all before the internet really took off! I had to trudge to the library and flip through the cards to find the books I wanted). I was determined!

As my thoughts came pouring forth, I figured, instead of hijacking a review post, I would make its own.



Do you have a book that pushed you into the genre you enjoy now? Was there an author that stands out in your reading that has made an impact?



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Review: All Things Hidden by Tracie Peterson & Kimberley Woodhouse

Title: All Things Hidden
Author: Tracie Peterson & Kimberley Woodhouse
Publisher: Bethany House
Pages: 347
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1119-5
Publication Date: December 18th, 2013

Synopsis:
Gwyn Hillerman loves being a nurse at her father's clinic on the beautiful Alaskan frontier. But family life has been rough ever since her mother left them, disdaining the uncivilized country and taking Gwyn's younger sister with her.

In Chicago, Dr. Jeremiah Vaughan finds his life suddenly turned upside down when his medical license is stripped away after an affluent patient dies. In a snowball effect, his fiance breaks their engagement. In an attempt to bury the past, Jeremiah accepts Dr. Hillerman's invitation to join his growing practice in the isolated Alaska Territory.

Gwyn and Jeremiah soon recognize a growing attraction to each other. But when rumors of Jeremiah's past begin to surface, they'll need more than love to face the threat of an uncertain future.
Review:
All Things Hidden was such a wonderful story to get swept up into. Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse takes us back to Alaska when the US was wanting to settle this new territory. Unlike previous books by Tracie Peterson that she has set in Alaska, this story takes place not in the 1800's or early 1900's with the gold rush, but during the darkest part of the Depression. FDR has implemented the New Deal and the push to get people working and into a fresh start has begun.

The characters of this story were created well. With Gwyn, I could understand her and was able to connect with her and desire to want things stay the same. I enjoyed that this book took place over many months and showed the progress between Gwyn and Jeremiah was a slow progression. Jeremiah, I thought had a tougher climb to understanding, but his growth was good.  It also showed through these characters, that even though things happened in the past, it is sometimes hard to let them go, which is all too true. Jeremiah and Gwyn were very real with the emotions and feelings they had.

Tracie Peterson has also brought the beauty of Alaska alive again with this story. The details and descriptions to scenery were wonderful and could easily be seen as I read through this story. The portrayals of the dangers of this land were also shown an understandable way. Alaska is America's last frontier and offers such a wide canvas to work with for stories.

The only small negative to the story was how quickly the extra characters came and went from the story. We were introduced to a few, they served their small purpose and you didn't hear from them again. I guess I would have liked to have heard their reaction to a part or two. That was the only thing that caught my attention.

I enjoyed looking back to a time in history that isn't widely known about. I enjoyed reading the historical details. I find it interesting how back in the 1930's the US was trying to settle Alaska and to this day are still trying, at least back in 2008/2009, they were looking for a few more families for a new area.

Too Read
4 out of 5

About the Author:
Tracie Peterson is the award-winning author of over ninety novels, both historical and contemporary. Her avid research resonates in her stories, as seen in her bestselling Heirs of Montana and Alaskan Quest series. Tracie and her family make their home in Montana. Visit Tracie's website at www.traciepeterson.com and her blog at www.writespassage.blogspot.com.






Kimberley Woodhouse is a multipublished author of fiction and nonfiction. A popular speaker/teacher, she's shared her theme of Joy Through Trials with over 150,000 people at more than a thousand venues across the country. She lives, writes, and homeschools with her husband of twenty-plus years and their two awesome teens in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Connect with Kim at www.kimberleywoodhouse.com.





Thank you to Bethany House, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.