Monday, March 31, 2014

March Review

March has bit the dust! We are now three months down in this year. To bad allergies haven't bit the dust yet. Life would be grand if it wasn't for the pollen. Oh, well. Spring book season is here! I've already read so many wonderful books this year and there are still so many more to come!

March has brought so many books that I couldn't get enough of. I couldn't wait to see what would happen in the story, and I was sad to see them end.

Here is my March in review.

Review:
Dancing with Fireflies by Denise Hunter (Litfuse Publicity)
Blog Tour: 3/24/2014- 4/10/2014
Whatever You Grow up to Be by Karen Kingsbury (Zonderkidz)
The Queen's Handmaid by Tracy L. Higley (Litfuse Publicity)
Blog Tour: 3/31/2014- 4/19/2014
A Heart's Rebellion by Ruth Axtell (Revell Blog Tour)
Wildwood Creek by Lisa Wingate (Bethany House)
Caught in the Middle by Regina Jennings (From the Author)
Echoes of Mercy by Kim Vogel Sawyer (Blogging for Books)
Merlin's Shadow by Robert Treskillard (Booklook)
The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton (From the Author)
Sincerely Yours by Jane Kirkpatrick, Amanda Cabot, Laurie Alice Eakes, & Ann Shorey (Revell Blog Tour)
Blog Tour: April 1st- April 8th
London Dawn by Murray Pura (Harvest House)


How was your month? Did any book just stand out this month for you?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (37)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Each week offers the opportunity to spotlight the books you have either received for review, bought, borrowed, or won, this previous week.

Bought:
 Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar
Song of Redemption by Lynn Austin
The Trouble with Cowboys by Denise Hunter


I had a very nice week thanks to a lovely gift card! I can't wait to get some time to read these. How was your bookish week?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Kid Favorite Friday: Spring

Spring has arrived! Thunderstorms are rumbling outside, rain is dripping from the roof, and the bluebonnets are in bloom!

So to kick off the official start of spring, I thought focusing on some spring books would be fun.

 Spring Surprises by Anne Jane Hayes
The Little Kitten by Judy Dunn
Splish, Splash Daisy by Jane Simmons
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
Clifford's Spring Clean-up by Norman Bridwell
Daisy and the Egg by Jane Simmons
Prairie Day by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Marley Springs Ahead by John Grogan
Going to Town by Laura Ingalls Wilder

 Each of these books are fun and perfect for this newness of the year.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Review: Caught in the Middle by Regina Jennings

Title: Caught in the Middle
Author: Regina Jennings
Publisher: Bethany House
Pages: 352
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0992-5
Publication Date: April 1st, 2014

Synopsis: 
She Wants the Freedom of the Open Plains.
He Wants the Prestige of a Successful Career.
Neither is Ready for What Comes Instead.


The train to Garber, Texas, is supposed to bring life's next victory to Nicholas Lovelace. Instead, it gets held up by robbers who are thwarted by the last person Nick ever expected—Anne Tillerton from back home in Prairie Lea.

Anne's been hiding away as a buffalo hunter. She's only in town to find their runaway cook, but the woman flees—leaving Anne with her infant son. With Nick the only person Anne knows in town, the two form an unlikely team as they try to figure out what to do with the child.

But being in town means acting and dressing for polite society—and it's not going well for Anne. Meanwhile, Nick's work is bringing new pressures, and being seen with a rough-around-the-edges woman isn't helping his reputation. Caught between their own dreams, a deepening relationship, and others' expectations, can the pair find their way to love?
Review:
Caught in the Middle is Anne Tillerman's story. Oh, how I wanted to know more about Anne since Sixty Acres and a Bride. I will admit, I have read these books out of order a bit. Sixty Acres and now Caught in the Middle. I have the second book, Love in the Balance, still waiting for me to read, but the best part is, each book has done well as a standalone. So, if you're like me, reading the books out of order won't hurt, you'll just know a few details a head of time.

When we first met Anne in Sixty Acres and a Bride, she was quiet. We didn't see her a whole lot and her husband Jay, would give excuses to why she wasn't around. Here's a small spoilery part for Sixty Acres... We come to find out, he is an abusive jerk, and for Anne to save her neighbor Rosa, she shoots her husband Jay, dead... In Caught in the Middle, we fast forward a few years. Anne has taken her shooting ability and put it to good use, she is now employed as a buffalo hunter in Indian Territory. Anne is content to stay away from society. She loves being able to blend in and no one noticing her. She has thrown away all convenience of society, and lives in men's clothing happy to be alone.

The quietness of that life soon comes crashing down when she has to chase down their camp cook. When Anne arrives Garber, she finds her, however, the woman leaves Anne to watch her baby for a short time, when actually she abandons the boy and Anne and flees to a new town with her recent love interest.

Anne has never been around children much. Her inexperience is cute to read about, because in all honesty, who hasn't felt all thumbs the first time around a kid? As Anne figures out what she is to do, she gains a friend, Nick, who is the brother of another friend, Molly Lovelace. With the baby, Anne is forced back into civilization and it with Nick's help, she is able to find a close group of people to rely on.

Caught in the Middle is a sweet story, but it also has a very important story under it all. Anne is a girl who only wanted to be loved and have a family. However, her experience in marriage was not that. She has a painful background and she carries the scars with her everywhere she goes. She is a strong woman, but also very fragile. I thought Regina Jennings did a wonderful job highlighting this issue. These scars run deep and take a long time to over come. Anne is a wonderful character and I just wanted to hug her.

Too Read
4 out of 5

About the Author:

Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She has worked at The Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She now lives outside Oklahoma City with her husband and four children.

You can connect with Regina at:
Twitter: @reginajennings
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReginaLJennings
Website: http://www.reginajennings.com


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

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cover Candy

I am so excited about so many of these books coming out this year! The covers are just beautiful and are fantastic at grabbing the attention. Then when the synopsis are put out, I'm hooked.

Here are some latest covers I've recently found or have been pointed to coming out in 2014.



Title: The Baron's Honourable Daughter 
Author: Lynn Morris
Publisher: FaithWords
Publication Date: May 6th, 2014
Bestselling author Lynn Morris weaves an inspirational Regency era romance rich in period detail.

When her stepfather suddenly dies, Valeria Segrave finds she must take charge of her grieving mother and the vast estate which now belongs to her six-year-old half brother, the new Earl of Maledon. Though capable, Valeria is frustrated to find each day brings a new struggle as she tries to establish her authority with servants, stewards, and solicitors-all men. As a young woman with no blood relation to the earl, they are all too ready to dismiss her.

Much to her chagrin, she must rely on the assistance of her stepfather's distant kinsman, Alastair, Lord Hylton. He is handsome and noble, and Valeria senses under the veneer of his gentlemanly behavior that she never measures up to his expectations of a refined lady. In light of that, accepting his help and feeling under a burden of gratitude to him is almost unbearable. Even when Valeria leaves the country estate for the glittering London Season, where she gets into a series of escapades, Lord Hylton is always there to witness, criticize, and correct her behavior. But if Alastair insists on engaging in a battle of wits and wills with the lively Valeria, she'll stop at nothing to prove that he's met his match.




Title: Daisies are Forever
Author: Liz Tolsma
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: May 6th, 2014
Gisela must hold on to hope and love despite all odds in the midst of a war-torn country.

Gisela Cramer is an American living in eastern Germany with her cousin Ella Reinhardt. When the Red Army invades, they must leave their home to escape to safety in Berlin.

However, Ella is a nurse and refuses to leave, sending her young daughters with Gisela. During their journey, Gisela meets Mitch Edwards, an escaped British POW. She pretends she is his wife in order to preserve his safety among other Germans, especially one wounded German soldier, Kurt, who has suspicions about Mitch's identity. Kurt also has feelings for Gisela and tries to uncover the truth about her "marriage."

Their journey to Gisela's mother in Berlin is riddled with tragedy and hardship, but they strive to keep Ella's daughters safe so they can reunite with their mother. During the journey Gisela and Mitch begin to develop feelings for one another beyond friendship. They reach Berlin, but their struggles are far from over. Gisela and Mitch must learn to live for the day and find hope in the darkest of circumstances.

In this moving, historically accurate portrayal of WWII Germany, the characters learn that, even with destruction all around them, some things last forever.



Title: Four Weddings & a Kiss
Author: Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy, and Robin Lee Hatcher
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: June 10th, 2014
In 1885 five western preachers sit around a campfire talking about unlikely couples they've seen God bring together.

“Spitfire Sweetheart” by Mary Connealy

Maizy Place is an unruly tomboy. When she causes an accident, injuring neighbor Rylan Carstens, she becomes his unlikely caregiver. Rylan has never noticed how pretty his infuriating neighbor is, and he never expected to fall in love.

“Love Letter to the Editor” by Robin Lee Hatcher

Molly Everton is the outspoken daughter of the town newspaper's owner. When her father brings in an outsider to be editor, she tries to drive him out of town. But Jack Ludgrove is not intimidated. He’s resolved to change Molly's mind about him—as an editor and as a man.

“A Cowboy for Katie” by Debra Clopton

Katie Pearl is uninterested in men and love. But she needs help on her ranch and hires Thad Rayburn, a wandering cowboy looking to make a buck. Will Thad change Katie’s mind?

“Saving Grace” by Margaret Brownley

Grace Davenport is either the unluckiest woman alive—or a killer. When her third husband is found dead, Grace is arrested. Attorney Brock Daniels isn't interested in the case—until he meets Grace. Only a miracle will prove her innocence, but the joining of two lonely hearts may be their saving grace.



 Title: Lizzy & Jane
Author: Katherine Reay
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: October 2014
Lizzy and Jane never saw eye to eye. But when illness brings them together, they discover they may be more like Austen’s famous sisters after all.

Lizzy was only a teenager when her mother died of cancer. Shortly after, Lizzy fled from her home, her family, and her cherished nickname. After working tirelessly to hone her gift of creating magic in the kitchen, Elizabeth has climbed the culinary ladder to become the head chef of her own New York restaurant, Feast. But as her magic begins to elude her, Paul, Feast’s financial backer, brings in someone to share her responsibilities and her kitchen. So Elizabeth flees again.

In a desperate attempt to reconnect with her gift, Elizabeth returns home. But her plans are derailed when she learns that her estranged sister, Jane, is battling cancer. Elizabeth surprises everyone—including herself—when she decides to stay in Seattle and work to prepare healthy, sustaining meals for Jane as she undergoes chemotherapy. She also meets Nick and his winsome son, Matt, who, like Elizabeth, are trying to heal from the wounds of the past.

As she tends to Jane's needs, Elizabeth's powers begin to return to her, along with the family she left behind so long ago. Then Paul tries to entice her back to New York, and she is faced with a hard decision: stay and become Lizzy to her sister’s Jane, or return to New York and the life she worked so hard to create?



Title: The Healer's Touch
Author: Lori Copeland
Publisher:Harvest House
Publication Date: August 1st, 2014
Lori Copeland, beloved author of more than 100 books, brings a new adventure to life in her latest novel.

Lyric Bolton doesn't ask for much--just friendship and acceptance from her rural Missouri community. But her family is regarded with suspicion and fear because of her mother's sickness--a sickness of the mind that grows worse by the day. Lyric is resigned to a life of isolation and doesn't see any way out...but that's before Ian Cawley bolts into her life on a runaway stallion.

As she opens her heart to Ian, Lyric dares to imagine a different life. But what will happen when he discovers the secret she holds closest of all? 



 Title: Keepers of the Covenant
Author: Lynn Austin
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: October 7th, 2014
The Old Testament Comes to Thrilling Life in the Latest from Lynn Austin

In one life-changing moment, the lives of the Jewish exiles in Babylon are thrown into confusion and despair when a decree arrives from the king's palace in Susa. It calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman, and child throughout the empire on the thirteenth day of Adar, in less than one year. Ezra, a quiet Jewish scholar and teacher, is suddenly called upon to lead the community as they seek God for a reason for this catastrophe. When a second decree arrives, authorizing them to fight back, Ezra is thrust into the role of military leader as they defend themselves against their enemies.

When the battles come to an end, Ezra's brother Jude is dead and Ezra is required by the Law he so diligently studies to marry Jude's widow, Devorah, and provide an heir. Fatherhood changes Ezra, and he asks God to make a way for him and the other exiles to leave Babylon for good and return to Jerusalem. His prayers are answered and the exiles move to Judea to revitalize worship at the temple--but the fight to keep God's Law is never easy. As more and more of his community are tempted, a new battle emerges...this one for the survival of God's covenant and the souls of His chosen faithful.



Title: Love's Fortune
Author: Laura Frantz
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: September 16th, 2014
Sheltered since birth at her Kentucky home, Rowena Ballantyne has heard only whispered rumors of her grandfather Silas's vast fortune and grand manor in Pennsylvania. When her father receives a rare letter summoning him to New Hope, Rowena makes the journey with him and quickly finds herself in a whole new world--filled with family members she's never met, dances she's never learned, and a new side to the father she thought she knew. As she struggles to fit in during their extended stay, she finds a friend in James Sackett, the most valued steamship pilot of the Ballantynes' shipping line. Even with his help, Rowena feels she may never be comfortable in high society. Will she go her own way . . . to her peril?

With her signature attention to historical detail, Laura Frantz brings 1850s Pennsylvania alive with a tender story of loss, love, and loyalty. Fans will cheer for this final installment of the Ballatyne saga.



Title: At Bluebonnet Lake
Author: Amanda Cabot
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: October 21st, 2014
Marketing maven Kate Sherwood’s world is fast-paced, challenging, and always changing. The last thing she wants to do is slow down to a crawl at Rainbow’s End, a dilapidated resort in the Texas Hill Country. But she cannot deny her ailing grandmother’s request to visit the place where she and her deceased husband spent one glorious week (albeit fifty years ago). There Kate meets Greg Vange, the resort’s handyman. But there’s more to Greg than meets the eye–billions more, in fact, as he recently sold his successful software company and is at the resort in search of what’s next for his life.
Kate isn’t looking for romance, but she can’t deny the sparks of attraction that fly every time she and Greg are together. She even starts to see potential in the rundown resort. Could there be a future there? Or will Kate’s long-sought promotion take her back to the big city?



Title: In the Field of Grace
Author: Tessa Afshar
Publisher: River North
Publication Date: July 1st, 2014
Two women. Alone. With no provision. Can a woman who has lost everything, except her beloved mother, find hope in a foreign land?

Ruth leaves her home with  a barren womb and an empty future, after losing her husband. She forsakes her abusive parents and follows the woman she has grown to love as a true parent, her husband's mother, Naomi.

Ruth arrives in Israel with nothing to recommend her but Naomi's, love. She is destitute, grief-stricken, and unwanted by the people of God. Her loftiest hope is to provide enough food to save Naomi and herself from starvation. She is reduced to gathering leftovers once the harvesters have finished collecting grain from the field. A job only for the lowest of the low.

But God has other plans for her life.

While everyone considers Ruth an unworthy outsider, Ruth is shocked to find the owner of the field-one of the wealthiest and most honored men of Judah-is showing her favor.  Long since a widower and determined to stay that way, Boaz finds himself irresistibly drawn to the foreign woman with the dark, haunted eyes. He tells himself he is only being kind to his Cousin Naomi's chosen daughter when he goes out of his way to protect her from harm, but his heart knows better.

Obstacles. Heartache. Withered dreams. How can God forge love, passion, and new hope between two such different people?

Book covers keep getting prettier and I have found lately they have done a wonderful job at depicting the story.

Waiting on Wednesday: At Bluebonnet Lake

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine. Each week offers you the opportunity to spotlight an up-and-coming release you are looking forward to.

Waiting On:
Title: At Bluebonnet Lake
Author: Amanda Cabot
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: October 21st, 2014

Synopsis:
From GoodReads
Marketing maven Kate Sherwood’s world is fast-paced, challenging, and always changing. The last thing she wants to do is slow down to a crawl at Rainbow’s End, a dilapidated resort in the Texas Hill Country. But she cannot deny her ailing grandmother’s request to visit the place where she and her deceased husband spent one glorious week (albeit fifty years ago). There Kate meets Greg Vange, the resort’s handyman. But there’s more to Greg than meets the eye–billions more, in fact, as he recently sold his successful software company and is at the resort in search of what’s next for his life.

Kate isn’t looking for romance, but she can’t deny the sparks of attraction that fly every time she and Greg are together. She even starts to see potential in the rundown resort. Could there be a future there? Or will Kate’s long-sought promotion take her back to the big city?

Why I'm Waiting:
I have really enjoyed the last couple of stories I've read by Amanda Cabot. She is able to make you apart of the story. I also like that this story will be set in Texas!


What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Bucket List

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week features a book related topic that gives you the opportunity to spotlight your Top Ten.

Topic:
Bookish Bucket List


1. To have all of my books displayed on bookshelves, instead of sitting in their boxes.

2. To have a room where at least 2 or 3 walls are bookshelves!

3. To read more classics. 

4. To have a first edition Little House Book.

5. To meet the authors I admire and tell them thank you in person for sharing with everyone their wonderful stories... and to ask them a few questions.

6. To see how a book is published, from start to finish, in person.

7. To write a book that is publishing worthy...

8. To meet other book bloggers.


I can really only think of 8 for this week, but it was a fun topic to think about! What are some of your bookish bucket list items?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Review: Merlin's Shadow by Robert Treskillard

Title: Merlin's Shadow
Author: Robert Treskillard
Publisher: Blink
Pages: 437
ISBN: 978-0-310-73508-3
Publication Date: October 1st, 2013

Synopsis:
Betrayal.

After destroying the sinister Druid Stone and freeing his people from its dark control, Merlin finds himself a royal advisor without a king. Along with his friend Garth and Natalenya, his betrothed, Merlin treks north with the orphaned Arthur in hopes of keeping the young ruler safe from soldiers misled by their turncoat captain. Relentlessly pursued by his old nemesis Vortigern, Merlin and his band make for the fortress of Dintaga.

But dangers multiply when Merlin realizes that Vortigern is not his only enemy. Even his own sister appears bent on Merlin's destruction. As the threat on all their lives increases, Merlin discovers their only hope is sailing to the lands of eternal darkness and once again cleansing the world from an ancient and powerful evil.
Review:
Merlin's Shadow picks up right after Merlin's Blade ends. Merlin and his companions are on the run from Vortigern and his men, but they are not the only ones after Merlin. Old threats emerge along with new threats. It seems wherever they turn, someone wants to bring harm to either Merlin or Arthur. It is a non-stop ride following Merlin and his companions as they race away from these threats and try their hardest to keep the young Arthur safe.

Robert Treskillard is able to weave the mythology of King Arther and supernatural aspects with a bit of historical fiction from this time in Britain when it is out from under Roman rule, but still settling into what it will become. The world that is presented is a dark world that Merlin lives in, full of battles, and grabs a hold of you as you dive further into the story.

Merlin through the story, has pushed forward as the leader of this rag tag group of five. However, through his strengths he reveals his weaknesses. One weakness in particular, which is witnessed in the beginning, I wanted to slap him for. Merlin promised Natalenya and her mother that he would protect Natalenya at the end of Merlin's Blade. However, when times got hard for them, and their chase intensified, Merlin pulled away from Natalenya and in doing so, left her vulnerable. I would like to say it was Merlin being naive, but I don't know. His thoughts shifted from where I expected them to go.

All in all, I really enjoyed Merlin's Shadow. It was a fast paced book from the very beginning and it kept me questioning, "What will happen next?" I'm interested to see how things will wrap up in the third book, Merlin's Nightmare.

Too Read
4 out of 5

About the Author:
Robert Treskillard holds a BA in Biblical &Theological Studies from Bethel University, Minnesota. He has been crafting stories from his early youth, and is a software developer, graphic artist, and sometimes a bladesmith.








Thank you to Booklook (formerly Booksneeze), I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (36)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Each week offers you the opportunity to spotlight the books you have either received for review, bought, borrowed, or won this previous week.

For Review:
 A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert (Blogging for Books)

Bought:
 The Auschwitz Escape by Joel C. Rosenberg
Larkspur Cove by Lisa Wingate
Marie by Linda Windsor



It's been a wonderful week of books here! How was your week?