Friday, October 31, 2014

October in Review

Good grief! It's Halloween already. I hope y'all have a fun and safe evening of Trick-or-Treating tonight. Candy night!! Yay!

This month has been so crazy for me, I was surprised that I was able to read all but one book on my list for the month. And it what a wonderful list of books it was! I'm a little behind in reviews, but I will have them up soon, so keep an eye out. 

Reviewed:
 The First Christmas Ever! Illustrated by Dennis Jones (Zonderkidz)
The Brickmaker's Bride by Judith Miller (Litfuse Publicity)
Blog Tour: 10/16-11/04
At Blue Bonnet Lake by Amanda Cabot (Revell)
Where Treetops Glisten by Tricia Goyer, Sarah Sundin, & Cara Putman (Litfuse Publicity)
Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austin (Litfuse Publicity)
8 Great Dates for Moms and Daughters by Dannah Gresh (Harvest House)
The Best Party Book Ever! by the Editors of Faithgirlz (Zonderkidz)
A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah E. Ladd (Litfuse Publicity)
The Promise by Beth Wiseman (Litfuse Publicity)
Blog Tour:10/20-11/09
God's Daughter by Heather Day Gilbert (From the Author)
The Legend of St. Nicholas by Dandi Daily Mackell (Zonderkidz)


How was your month of books?

I should have all of these reviews up in the next week, so stay tuned. There were some great books!

We are diving into one of the busiest and festive times of the year. Are you going to be changing up your reading any? Reading more holiday based stories?



Review: The Brickmaker's Bride by Judith Miller (Litfuse Blog Tour & Giveaway)

Title: The Brickmaker's Bride
Author: Judith Miller
Publisher: Bethany House
Pages: 352
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1255-0
Publication Date: October 7th, 2014

Synopsis:
In the clay-rich hills of the newly founded state of West Virginia, two families tentatively come together to rebuild a war-torn brickmaking business.

Ewan McKay has immigrated to West Virginia with his aunt and uncle, promising to trade his skills in the clay business for financial help. Uncle Hugh purchases a brickmaking operation from a Civil War widow and her daughter, and it's Ewan's job to get the company up and running again.

Ewan seeks help from Laura, the former owner's daughter, and he quickly feels a connection with her, but she's being courted by another man--a lawyer with far more social clout and money than Ewan. Resolving that he'll make the brickworks enough of a success that he can become a partner in the business and be able to afford to bring his sisters over from Ireland, Ewan pours all his energy into the new job.

But when Hugh signs a bad business deal, all Ewan's hard work is put in jeopardy. As his hopes for the future crumble, Laura reveals something surprising. Can she help him save the brickworks, and will Ewan finally get a shot at winning her heart?
Review:
I'm always interested in a unique setting for a story. When this one popped up on my radar earlier this year, I have to say, the idea of a story set around that of a brickyard caught my attention rather quickly. Plus, it is written by an author I have enjoyed in the past.

This was a unique story and an interesting one that offered a look into the brick making business after the Civil War, when reconstruction was big. We see most of the story through Laura and Ewan's eyes. Laura has the expertise in the industry, as she was raised in the office by her father as he ran things. It was through this she found a love and had pride for the company. With her father dead from the war, and it is just her and her mother, times are changing and with Laura's mother getting older, the stress of running the company isn't the best idea.

Ewan isn't new to brick making, his father taught him all he needed to know, but he is quite new to the brick running business, which he is taking part of with his uncle. Ewan has a sharp mind and is ready to put his whole self in to learning. He wants to desperately become a partner in the company, so the success is important. However, he has an uphill battle. His uncle is a gambler and his aunt is as selfish as they come. And with his uncle trying to hide the gambling from his aunt, his uncle is content to give his wife whatever she wants and leave Ewan on his own for a lot of the time.

This story had it's fair share of antagonist in it. Not only was there Ewan's aunt and uncle, but there is Laura's suitor. Right off the bat, he came off with an attitude. Between the three of them, I wondered if there was ever going to be any happiness for our characters. Between a gambler with a superiority complex, a selfish, socialite wannabe, and prejudice, controlling lawyer, it pulled things in many different directions.

Thankfully though, things did smooth out. The ending was enjoyable.

Laura was a girl who had great pride and things. I enjoyed her character for her strength, but a few times I scratched my head at her choices, even when an explanation was given. It didn't seem to sit with who she was. However, with those questions I had in her decisions, it was used later on in the story as a way for her to learn and grow, so that helped. Ewan was good character as well. He is determined to do the right thing. He has a caring heart and a willingness to stand up for people. He also doesn't mind facing down his uncle. Ewan and Laura each face struggles in this story, but it helped flush out who they were.

All in all it was a nice story and an interesting backdrop.
3.5

About the Author:
Judith Miller is an award-winning author whose avid research and love for history are reflected in her bestselling novels. When time permits, Judy enjoys traveling, visiting historical settings, and scrapbooking the photographs from her travel expeditions. She makes her home in Topeka, Kansas







Giveaway:
Don't miss Judith Miller's latest novel, The Brickmaker's Bride. CBA Retailers + Resources raves, ". . . a wonderful story about faith and love throughout life’s trials."

Judith is celebrating with a Kindle HDX giveaway and  a "Refined by Love" Facebook author event on November 4th.
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 One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle HDX
  • The Brickmaker's Bride by Judith Miller
Enter today by clicking the button below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 4th. Winner will be announced at the Refined by Love Facebook Author Event. Connect with Judith for a fascinating evening centered around her new Civil War-era series. She'll be hosting a book club discussion, giving away prizes, answering your questions, offering an exclusive peek at the next book in the Refined by Love series, and much more!

So grab your copy of The Brickmaker's Bride and join Judith and friends on the evening of November 4th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)
brickmaker-enterbanner

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by signing up for a reminder. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 4th!



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

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Blog Tour: Jesus Daily: 365 Interactive Devotions by Aaron Tabor, MD

Title: Jesus Daily: 365 Interactive Devotions
Author: Aaron Tabor, MD
Publisher: FaithWords
Pages: 400
ISBN: 978-1-4555-7723-1
Publication Date: October 7th, 2014

Synopsis:
Based on major themes found on the most active Facebook page in history, this 365-day devotional goes beyond fan frenzy to create a deeper experience and cultural movement that celebrates your redemption in Christ. Each day you'll be challenged to respond to an inspirational reflection by using a variety of social media tools. 

Review:
I have to say, that I picked today to feature this devotional, because today's devotion hit close to home for me. Life is never going to be easy and there are going to be days, weeks, even years that seem harder then usual. We live in a fallen world, it's to be expected, but the knowledge we have that God comes through on His promises is amazing! What a strength to rely on when things get hard and it things seem a bit hopeless.

We will always have a Rock to be there and His promises to sustain us even during the strongest of storms.

I still have much to read through in this devotional, but I'm looking forward to diving further into it. The several devotions I've been able to read have been great reminders and have offered some fantastic insights and tidbits to think about.

Too Read!

Excerpt:

About the Author:
Aaron Tabor, MD, started the Jesus Daily Facebook page in 2009. He is the President of Gene Facelift, a gene therapy biotechnology company developing anti-aging and wound healing drugs. Dr. Tabor is a graduate of The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. 


Than you to the Hatchette Book Group, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Waiting On Wednesday: The Huntress of Thronbeck Forest

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.
Each week offers the opportunity to spotlight an up-and-coming release you are excited about.

Waiting On:
Title: The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: May 12th, 2015

Synopsis: 
From GoodReads
"Swan Lake" meets Robin Hood when the beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant by day becomes the region's most notorious poacher by night, and falls in love with the forester.

Jorgen is the forester for the wealthy margrave, and must find and capture the poacher who has been killing and stealing the margrave's game. When he meets the lovely and refined Odette at the festival and shares a connection during a dance, he has no idea she is the one who has been poaching the margrave's game.

Odette justifies her crime of poaching because she thinks the game is going to feed the poor, who are all but starving, both in the city and just outside its walls. But will the discovery of a local poaching ring reveal a terrible secret? Has the meat she thought she was providing for the poor actually been sold on the black market, profiting no one except the ring of black market sellers?

The one person Odette knows can help her could also find out her own secret and turn her over to the margrave, but she has no choice. Jorgen and Odette will band together to stop the dangerous poaching ring . . . and fall in love. But what will the margrave do when he discovers his forester is protecting a notorious poacher?
 Why I'm Waiting:
I've really enjoyed Melanie Dickerson's previous fairy tale re-tellings. They are close to story you know, but with a fun and unique twist that makes them feel a little more real. I can't wait to see what her newest story will bring!


What are you waiting on this week?


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween

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

Topic:
Top Ten Characters Who I Would Totally Want To Be For Halloween

I decided to go with the 2nd topic offered this week. I'm not much a horror fan. I'm too much of a realistic thinker, so those books and movies don't hold my attention since I nitpick a lot of things.

As I read and watch TV, I get so many ideas for characters to dress of up as. It's the follow through that kills me. I end up throwing all my energy into the kiddo's costume.
So, if I ever have the time, here are my top costume ideas.

 1. Katniss
2. Hermione Granger
3. Mom from The Incredibles
4. Any character from The Lord of the Rings/ The Hobbit
5. Scarlett O'Hara...
maybe with a Carol Burnett twist, if you don't know what I'm talking about, go YouTube it, it's hilarious!
6. Loki
A girl version of course.
7. Belle from Beauty and the Beast
8. Red or any character from Once Upon a Time


These are the top choices right now...probably won't be able to be any this year...maybe next year. We shall see.

What about you? What is your top ten this week?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Review: A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah E. Ladd (Litfuse Blog Tour & Giveaway)

Title: A Lady at Willowgrove Hall
Author: Sarah E. Ladd
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 320
ISBN: 978-1-4016-8837-0
Publication Date: October 7th, 2014

Synopsis:
Her secret cloaks her in isolation and loneliness.
His secret traps him in a life that is not his own.

Cecily Faire carries the shame of her past wherever she treads, knowing one slip of the tongue could strip away everything she holds dear. But soon after accepting the position of lady’s companion at Willowgrove Hall, Cecily finds herself face-to-face with a man well-acquainted with the past she’s desperately hidden for years.

Nathaniel Stanton has a secret of his own – one that has haunted him from birth and tied him to his father’s position as steward of Willowgrove. To protect his family, Nathaniel dares not breath a word of the truth. But as long as the shadow looms over him, he’ll never be free to find his own way in the world. He’ll never be free to fall in love.

When the secrets swirling within Willowgrove Hall come to light, Cecily and Nathaniel must confront a painful choice: Will they continue running from the past . . . or will they stand together and build a future without the suffocating weight of secrets long suffered?
Review:
Sarah Ladd has a passion for regency. Her research and attention to detail really shine through in her novels. I've kind of skipped around on her novels. I read her first book last month, now I've read her third....her second novel is waiting for me as we speak. I have to say, her debut came off beautifully and her third shines! I can't wait to go back and read her second novel.

This was an interesting novel. As the reader, we got to find out the secrets of the characters, Nathanial and Cecily and then we got to watch as they did their best to keep their past to themselves as the story progressed. Then as they worked through their thoughts and decide if they could or should revel what they were hiding.

I really enjoyed reading about Nathanial's family. His mom and sisters were fun and offered a bridge for Nathanial and Cecily to connect through. Mrs. Trent was another character I really liked. Despite her snappishness in parts...which she really was entitled to, in my opinion, she was a delightful lady for Cecily to interact with. Mrs. Trent, along with Cecily and Nathanial, had something she had to work through in her life, and after half a lifetime of battling it, I thought she handed it well.

Mrs. Massey was a character I could not warm up to. Right form the get-go, her motives were obvious. If she wasn't so out their with her pushiness, I might have liked her, but as she put herself into the roll she did, without thought of stepping aside gracefully, she left a sour impression. The same went for Andrew Morton, but I won't go too much into that.

I really enjoyed this story. With each story I've read by Sarah Ladd, they keep getting better and better. I can't wait to see more from her.

Too Read
4 out of 5

About the Author:
Sarah E. Ladd has more than ten years of marketing experience. She is a graduate of Ball State University and holds degrees in public relations and marketing. "The Heiress of Winterwood" was the recipient of the 2011 Genesis Award for historical romance and a finalist in the Debut Author category of the 2014 Carol Awards. The second book in the series, "The Headmistress of Rosemere" (2013), was on the ECPA best-seller list for several months. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing husband, sweet daughter, and spunky Golden Retriever.



Giveaway:
Award-winning author Sarah E. Ladd examines how to escape the clutches of a tainted past in the final installment of her Whispers on the Moor series. A Regency-era novel, A Lady at Willowgrove Hall cleverly shows that even though our pasts may be shameful or painful, God can take the darkest personal histories and turn them into the brightest futures.

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Celebrate with Sarah by entering her Kindle HDX giveaway!
One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah E. Ladd
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 2nd. Winner will be announced November 3rd here.
ladywillowgrove-enterbanner



Thank you to Litfuse and Thomas Nelson, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review:


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (66)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.
Each week offers the opportunity to spotlight the books that you have gotten this past week. They can be the books you received for review, bought, borrowed, or won.

Review:
The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson (Booklook)

Bought:
 The Covered Deep by Brandy Vallance
Songs of the Shenandoah by Michael K. Reynolds

It has been a very busy week for me, so books have been on the back burner a bit. I was happy though that I got 2 of the books I was looking forward to, and a wonderful bargain deal. It was a good week over all.

How was your book week?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pearl in the Sand

Title: Pearl in the Sand
Author: Tessa Afshar
Publisher: River North
Pages: 310
ISBN: 978-0-8024-581-0
Publication Date: April 24th, 2010

Synopsis:
Can a Canaanite harlot who has made her livelihood by looking desirable to men make a fitting wife for one of the leaders of Israel? Shockingly, the Bible's answer is yes.

Pearl in the Sand tells Rahab's untold story. Rahab lives in a wall; her house is built into the defensive walls of the City of Jericho. Other walls surround her as well--walls of fear, rejection, and unworthiness.

A woman with a wrecked past; a man of success, of faith...of pride. A marriage only God would conceive! Through the heartaches of a stormy relationship, Rahab and Salmone learn the true source of one another's worth and find healing in God.
Review:
Tessa Afshar has such an amazing story telling ability. There is a beauty in her writing that is hard to find sometimes. She takes well known stories from the Bible and keeps their integrity and works a beautiful story around it with a possibility to how it might have been.

We don't know much about Rahab, other then she was a prostitute who helped the Israelite spies hide when they came to scope out Jericho and in doing so, they saved her and her family. There isn't a lot to her story, but we do find out later in Jesus' genealogy, she played a greater role as an ancestor in His line, one of the great grandmother's to King David and so on. Once a prostitute and now apart of one of the greatest stories.

Tessa Afshar was able to bring Rahab to life in a way that you hurt for her and hoped the best for her. As a young teenager, Rahab is forced into prostitution by her parents to keep them from starving. She lived this hard life, but was able to carve a safe life that allowed her to keep her distance when she wanted to. Rahab was a strong and intelligent woman. Her hurts felt real from her past sufferings that seemed to haunt her, but she was a woman that kept her head high and had a wonderful faith that shone through everything.

Salmone was a character that took a little bit of time to warm up to. He was a warrior and leader in the tribe of Judah, so he had a heavy burden to carry. With that burden, he was a bit hardened, but as the story progressed and he got to know Rahab as a person and not as her background, I started to warm up to him. And like life, his change didn't happen over night, you wanted it to, but he had to learn and grow.

I read In the Field of Grace (about Ruth) before this story and I enjoyed seeing the little connections. You don't have to read them in order, but there are small connections, since these two women played such a big part in the genealogy of Jesus, I liked how it brought them together.


Too Read
4 out of 5


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Pharaoh's Daughter

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

Waiting On: 
Title:The Pharaoh's Daughter
Author: Mesu Andrews
Publisher: Waterbrook Press
Publication Date: March 17th, 2015

Synopsis:
Scarred by memories of her mother's death during childbirth, Anippe is terrified to give her husband Sebak the son he wants and deserves. When the Pharaoh orders Hebrew males murdered at birth, Anippe rescues a baby from the Nile, believing the gods have answered her prayers for a son. But could her handsome boy rule Egypt one day? Or will someone hear the Hebrews call him Moses and destroy everything Anippe holds dear?


Why I'm Waiting:
Mesu Andrews has fast become one of my favorite Biblical fiction authors. Her attention to detail and history is great, so I look forward to any book of her's that is on the way. I'm especially excited about this book being set during the time of Moses. It's a favorite story of mine and I can't wait to see how it's brought to life from this perspective!


What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: New Series I Want to Read

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

Topic:
Top New Series I Want To Start (New..let's say within the last year or two)
Give or take another year or two....

1. The Remnants by Lisa T. Bergren
I'm looking forward to this series. I have yet to get the book however. Soon!
2. Belmont Mansion by Tamera Alexander
I do have both the books in this series sitting on my shelf. I just need to read them.
3. Storm Siren by Mary Weber
It's a new series, so it just started, but I need to read it!
4. Doon by Cary Corp and Lorie Langdon
I have both books for this one. 
5. The Royal Wedding by Rachel Hauck
I just recently got this series. I keep hearing wonderful things, just need to make time to read them.
6. The Selection by Kiera Cass
I have the first book waiting. 
7. Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Again, another series I own the first book in.
8. Halfings by Heather Burch
I just bought the first book in this series as well.
9. Glamourist Histories Mary Robinette Kowal
I have the first two in this series waiting with all of the others.


This ended up being a little trickier then I thought it was going to be. I thought of all of these series, but then I had realized, I had already read at least 1 book in them, so I nixed them from the list. I'm good at starting series right when they start and having to wait for the rest to come out.


What series made your list?