Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'm Looking Forward to In Start of 2016

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!

 
1. Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar
2. Flight of Arrows by Lori Benton
3. Her One and Only by Becky Wade
4. Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey
 
5. Siren's Song by Mary Weber
6. A Daring Sacrifice by Jody Hedlund
7. Playing the Part by Jen Turano
8. The Ringmaster's Wife by Kristy Cambron
 
9. Undaunted Hope by Jody Hedlund
10. No Other Will Do by Karen Witemeyer

 I can't wait to read these and so many other in 2016! What are you looking forward to?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Review: In Good Company by Jen Turano

Title: In Good Company
Author: Jen Turano
Publisher: Bethany House
Pages: 347
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1276-5
Publication Date: July 7th, 2015

Synopsis:
After growing up as an orphan, Millie Longfellow is determined to become the best nanny the East Coast has ever seen. Unfortunately, her playfulness and enthusiasm aren't always well-received and she finds herself dismissed from yet another position.

Everett Mulberry has quite unexpectedly become guardian to three children that scare off every nanny he hires. About to depart for Newport, Rhode Island, for the summer, he's desperate for competent childcare.

At wit's end with both Millie and Everett, the employment agency gives them one last chance--with each other. As Millie falls in love with her mischievous charges, Everett focuses on achieving the coveted societal status of the upper echelons. But as he investigates the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of the children's parents, will it take the loss of those he loves to learn whose company he truly wants for the rest of his life?
Review:
Jen Turano has the best ability to weave humor into her stories. And I have to say, In Good Company is her best book yet! She is able to bring in to her story adventure, humor, mystery, and some of the best characters that you can relate to and want to hang out with.

Millie was just phenomenal. She has to work to support herself and she tries her hardest at her jobs, it's just they don't always work out. She also strives to learn. I loved that about her. She is constantly reading! She may not know how to properly say the word, from only reading it, but she yearns to learn and know. I loved that! People like her are the best in my opinion. Millie was a fantastic character to follow and when she was with Everett it made it all the more fun!

It was a delight to dive back into this world with these characters. After A Fashion got the ball rolling and I can't wait to see what happens in Playing the Part, book 3 of the Class of Their Own series.

Too Read!
5 out of 5

About the Author:
Jen Turano, author of seven books, is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in clothing and textiles. She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at www.jenturano.com.

Thank you to the author, I received a copy of this book for free as a gift. I was not required to write a review.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday: Cold Shot

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

Waiting On:
Title: Cold Shot
Author: Dani Pettrey
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: February 2nd, 2016

Synopsis:
From GoodReads
In college, Griffin McCray and his four best friends had their lives planned out. Griffin and Luke Gallagher would join the Baltimore PD. Declan Gray would head to the FBI and Parker Mitchell would go on to graduate school as a crime scene analyst. But then Luke vanished before graduation and their world--and friendships--crumbled.

Now Griffin is a park ranger at Gettysburg, having left life as a SWAT-team sniper when a case went bad. The job is mostly quiet--until the day he captures two relic hunters uncovering skeletal remains near Little Round Top. Griffin just wants the case to go away, but charming forensic anthropologist Finley Scott determines that the body is modern--a young social justice lawyer missing since spring--and all evidence points to the work of an expert sniper. When FBI agent Declan Gray takes over the case, past and present collide. Griffin soon realizes he'll need to confront some of the darkest days of his life if he--and those he cares about--are going to escape a downward spiral of murder that crosses continents.
Why I'm Waiting:
Dani Pettrey has become one of my favorite authors. She is able to mix in suspense, comedy, romance, and adventure effortlessly. I can't wait to see what new adventures she has planned with this book!

What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, November 9, 2015

Review: Luthar and Katharina by Jody Hedlund

Title: Luther and Katharina
Author: Jody Hedlund
Publisher: Water Brooke Press
Pages: 400
ISBN: 978-1-60142-762-5
Publication Date: October 6th, 2015

Synopsis:
She was a nun of noble birth. He, a heretic, a reformer…an outlaw of the Holy Roman Empire.

In the 16th century, nun Katharina von Bora’s fate fell no further than the Abbey. Until she read the writings of Martin Luther.

His sweeping Catholic church reformation—condemning a cloistered life and promoting the goodness of marriage—awakened her desire for everything she’d been forbidden. Including Martin Luther himself.

Despite the fact that the attraction and tension between them is undeniable, Luther holds fast to his convictions and remains isolated, refusing to risk anyone’s life but his own. And Katharina longs for love, but is strong-willed. She clings proudly to her class distinction, pining for nobility over the heart of a reformer. They couldn’t be more different.

But as the world comes tumbling down around them, and with Luther’s threatened life a constant strain, these unlikely allies forge an unexpected bond of understanding, support and love.

Together, they will alter the religious landscape forever.
Review:
I have loved Jody Hedlund's novels since the first time I opened it up. She has the best ability at weaving a fantastic romance with historical fiction. She brings historical figures to life in a realistic way. She allows you to feel what they feel and draws you in. And before you know the story has ended.

I remember  reading and studying about Luther and Katharina back in high school and their story always intrigued me. When, I heard that Jody Hedlund was going to write a story on them, I was beyond thrilled. And safe to say, her story went well beyond my hopes!

The story focuses on Luther and Katharina. It starts when Katharina has plotted and is ready to escape the convent with several of the women. Luther is in the midst of his ministry and pushing for reformation. Their lives haven't intersected yet, but it is on a crash course for it.

Katharina is a fantastic character. With what all she did in real life, she had to have been a strong and determined woman. Jody Hedlund was able to capture that I believe and made her understandable with a great strength to her.

Luther did so much for the church. He had such a passion for the Lord and making sure that people had the opportunity to learn the truth. He was a very strong character and reading about what he was able to do, the personalities of him and Katharina paired up really were the perfect pair.

This was story that captured me up and I devoured it in a short time. I was sad to see it end. I can't wait see what is next up for Jody.

Too Read!
5 out of 5
About the Author:
Jody Hedlund is an award-winning and bestselling author of inspirational historical romances including books for adults and youth. She currently makes her home in central Michigan with her husband and their five busy children.

As a busy mama-writer, she has the wonderful privilege of teaching her crew of 5 children at home. In between grading math papers and giving spelling tests, she occasionally does a load of laundry and washes dishes. When she's not busy being a mama, you can find her in front of her laptop working on another of her page-turning stories.

She loves reading almost as much as she loves writing, especially when it also involves chocolate and coffee.



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

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Review: Valley of Decision by Lynne Gentry (Litfuse Blog Tour)

Title: Valley of Decision
Author: Lynne Gentry
Publisher: Howard Books
Pages: 400
ISBN: 978-1-4767-4641-8
Publication Date: September 22nd, 2015

Synopsis:
Every choice has a consequence in the explosive conclusion to the Carthage Chronicles as Lisbeth returns to third-century Carthage for a thrilling final adventure.

Thirteen years ago, Lisbeth made an impossible decision—leave third-century Carthage and her husband Cyprian behind for good. She knew it was to protect her daughter Maggie, so Lisbeth gathered the strength to move on with her life.

All these years, Lisbeth has thrown herself into her work and raising her headstrong daughter, all to live up to the promise she made to Cyprian. But Maggie is sick of being protected. In an act of teenage rebellion Maggie decides to do what her mother can’t—secretly returning to the third century on a quest to bring her father back, leaving Lisbeth no choice but to follow.

With Maggie’s surprise arrival in Carthage, chaos ensues. She finds her grandmother on trial for murder and attempts to save her, but instead the diversion sparks a riot that nearly destroys the plagued city. Only one thing will appease the wrath of the new proconsul of Carthage: the death of the instigator.

Will Lisbeth arrive in time to save her daughter from the clutches of Rome? How can God possibly redeem such a slew of unwise decisions and deep regrets? Filled with heart-wrenching twists and riveting action, Valley of Decision brings the romantic adventure epic, The Carthage Chronicles, to an electrifying conclusion.
Review:
I've been with the Carthage Chronicles since it first came out. It has been one of the best series I have read so far. Book one started off with a bang and book two kept going with fantastic twists and turns. The story never stopped. I was anticipating book three like no tomorrow. The wait was worth it! Book three closed out the series beautifully.

Book three picked up the story where it left off. It kept you up to date and made sure you didn't miss anything. And there was so much action and suspense, it was a hard book to put down. And I loved the transitions of characters. Up until now, we've followed Lisabeth Hastings on her journey in time travel. Now, we get to follow her daughter, Maggie as she is the one to make the decision.

Maggie was an interesting character. The last we heard from her, she was a little girl, now is an adult and ready to travel and see the world, just not the way her mother envisioned it. And with that we are brought back Carthage. There is so much upheaval in the time. The story goes a mile a minute, but doesn't leave you behind.

Lynne Gentry did a wonderful job mixing the historical with the fiction. She could have taken the story anywhere, but I'm glad how she tied it all together and made it work. It is a story that made me hold my breath in anticipation.

Too Read!
5 out of 5

About the Author:
Lynne Gentry has written for numerous publications. She is a professional acting coach, theater director, and playwright. Lynne is an inspirational speaker and dramatic performer who loves spending time with her family and medical therapy dog








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

Friday, August 14, 2015

Review: The Wood's Edge by Lori Benton

Title: The Wood's Edge
Author: Lori Benton
Publisher: Water Brook Press
Pages: 400
ISBN: 978-1-60142-732-8
Publication Date: April 21st, 2015

Synopsis:
At the wood's edge cultures collide. Can two families survive the impact?

The 1757 New York frontier is home to the Oneida tribe and to British colonists, yet their feet rarely walk the same paths.

On the day Fort William Henry falls, Major Reginald Aubrey is beside himself with grief. His son, born that day, has died in the arms of his sleeping wife. When Reginald comes across an Oneida mother with newborn twins, one white, one brown, he makes a choice that will haunt the lives of all involved. He steals the white baby and leaves his own child behind. Reginald's wife and foundling daughter, Anna, never suspect the truth about the boy they call William, but Reginald is wracked by regret that only intensifies with time, as his secret spreads its devastating ripples.

When the long buried truth comes to light, can an unlikely friendship forged at the wood's edge provide a way forward? For a father tormented by fear of judgment, another by lust for vengeance. For a mother still grieving her lost child. For a brother who feels his twin's absence, another unaware of his twin's existence. And for Anna, who loves them both--Two Hawks, the mysterious Oneida boy she meets in secret, and William, her brother. As paths long divided collide, how will God direct the feet of those who follow Him?
Review:
Can I just say first and for most, how gorgeous is the cover?! I have to say, the cover set the book up perfectly.

I have been a fan of Lori Benton's books, since her first book, Burning Sky. Her writing has so much fluidity to it. It wraps around you as you read it and you are transported back to this time. As you read, you can see all of the research and work Lori has put into her book. It is just amazing. The depth of history and details she applies to her story is just phenomenal. It flows together. Nothing is bogged down. The story propels you wanting to read more of these characters. I couldn't story reading.

The Wood's Edge is book one of The Path Finders series. I'm beyond thrilled about that. This was a setting that was so unique, as was the story. The opening had me on edge wondering what would happen, and goodness, how it shaped the characters. Good Voice, I just ached for. She was a strong character who really grew through this story. Anna was an amazing girl as well. I enjoyed watching her grow. She was relateable. She reminded me of many girls.

William and Two Hawks, they were thrown into everything without their own knowledge. Now, Reginald Aubry, I didn't know what to make of him in the beginning. His choices and the consequences of them were so big. It's amazing how one man's decisions can affect so many people.  There was so much depth to these characters. The development of them is impressive!

This story was addicting. I didn't want it to end. I can't wait to read book 2!

Too Read!
5 out of 5

About the Author:
Lori Benton was born and raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American and family history going back to the 1600s. Her novels transport readers to the 18th century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history, creating a melting pot of characters drawn from both sides of a turbulent and shifting frontier, brought together in the bonds of God's transforming grace.

When she isn’t writing, reading, or researching 18th century history, Lori enjoys exploring the mountains with her husband.

Burning Sky, Lori's debut novel, was a finalist for the ECPA 2014 Christian Book Award, and winner of the 2014 Christy Award for First Novel, Historical, and Book of the Year.



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

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday: The Golden Braid

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

Waiting On:
Title: The Golden Braid
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: November 17th, 2015

Synopsis:
From GoodReads
The one who needs rescuing isn’t always the one in the tower.

Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man around. And her skills as an artist rival those of any artist she’s met. But for a woman in medieval times, the one skill she most desires is the hardest one to obtain: the ability to read.

After yet another young man asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage, Mother decides they need to move once again, but this time to a larger city. Rapunzel’s heart soars—surely there she can fulfill her dream. But Mother won’t let her close to a man. She claims that no man can be trusted.

After being rescued by a knight on the road to the city, and in turn rescuing him farther down the road, Rapunzel’s opportunity arrives at last. This knight, Sir Gerek, agrees to educate Rapunzel in order to pay back his debt. She just has to put up with his arrogant nature and single-minded focus on riches and prestige.

But this Rapunzel story is unlike any other and the mystery that she uncovers will change everything—except her happily ever after.
Why I'm Waiting:
Melanie Dickerson has become a favorite for fairy tale re-tellings. Her stories are just fun and a good mix of historical fiction, but also have a good message to them. I can't wait for this re-telling of Rapunzel!

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Fairytale Re-Tellings

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:
Ten Fairytale Re-tellings I've Read/Want To Read

I love fairy tales. Old ones and new ones, even the mix of the two to make something complete new. Fairy tales are just so much fun to dive into.

In my list it is a mix of books I have read and ones I want to read.

 
 1. Princess Ever After (Want to Read)
by Rachel Hauck
2. Dauntless (Have Read, review to follow soon)
by Dina Sleiman
3. The Captive Maiden (Have Read)
by Melanie Dickerson
4. The Merchant's Daughter (Have Read)
by Melanie Dickerson
5. The Selection (Want to Read)
by Kiera Cass
6. Cinder (Want to Read)
by Marissa Meyer
7. The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest (Want to Read)
by Melanie Dickerson
8. Head in the Clouds (Want to Read)
by Karen Witemeyer
9. Ruby Red (Want to Read)
by Kerstin Gier
10. Doon (Want to Read)
by Cary Corp & Lorie Landon



I have always loved fairy tales. I love when new versions come out. They don't get old. What are your top ten fairy tales?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday: Playing the Part

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

Waiting On:
Title: Playing the Part
Author: Jen Turano
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: March 1st, 2016

Synopsis:
From GoodReads
Lucetta Plum is an actress on the rise in New York City, but is forced to abandon her starring role when a fan's interest turns threatening. Lucinda's widowed friend, Abigail Hart, is delighted at the opportunity to meddle in Lucetta's life and promptly whisks her away to her grandson's estate to hide out.

Bram Haverstein may appear to simply be a somewhat eccentric gentleman of means, but a mysterious career and a secret fascination with a certain actress mean there's much more to him than society knows.

Lucetta, who has no interest in Abigail's matchmaking machinations, has the best intentions of remaining cordial but coolly distant to Bram. But when she can't ignore the strange and mysterious things going on in his house, it'll take more than good intentions to keep her from trying to discover who Bram is behind the part he plays.
Why I'm Waiting:
Jen Turano has become a favorite author of mine. She has been able to mix history and comedy together seamlessly. And her attention to detail is just fantastic, especially on the the clothing that the women wear in her stories. I just finished reading her latest book, In Good Company, and loved! I can't wait to read about Lucetta now.

What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: Exodus by Cliff Graham

Title: Exodus
Author: Cliff Graham
Publisher: Bethany House
Pages: 303
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1475-2
Publication Date: May 5th, 2015

Synopsis:
Caleb and Joshua Roar to Life in this High-Impact Old Testament Saga

Two men were brave enough to tell the truth about what awaited the Hebrews in Canaan. This is their story. From the slave pits of Egypt to the efforts of an eighty-five-year-old Caleb as he drives out the last of the giants, Shadow of the Mountain is a vivid portrait of two of God's chosen champions, and a meditation on masculine mentorship and the challenges and blessings of growing older.

For the sake of his new God and his loyalty to his friend Joshua, Caleb will not spend his twilight years resting, but taking the battle to the enemies of God's people until his dying breath. From his early days as a mercenary for Pharaoh in Egypt watching the Hebrews suffer under the yoke of slavery, all the way through a desperate fight with giants in the dark forests of the hill country, this is a story filled with epic battles, gritty intensity, and supernatural events that made Graham's Lion of War series a hit. Shadow of the Mountain is sure to ignite a love for the Old Testament in popular culture.
Review:
Cliff Graham has an amazing talent for telling a story. He has a way to bring it across in a lifelike fashion that sucks you into the pages. And in the process get across an important message of faith. In his writing, you can tell how important his faith is, and his hope for others to have that same faith.

Another aspect of Cliff's writing that I like, is the grittiness. I say grittiness, but it's lifelike. Life isn't going to be roses and with the topics he focuses on and the era the story is set, it was a dark and violent time. He states in the beginning it was a brutal time. I'm glad he shows it in his writing, because it makes the impact of the miracles that happen all the more important.

I started reading Exodus and was captured up into the Caleb's story immediately. You're launched into the story in what would be Caleb's present time and we fall back into time to follow him on his journey to Egypt and experience what he went through during his time with the Exodus. Because there isn't a whole lot of his story in the Bible for his early life, the life of Caleb is a lot of fiction, but it is done so well. The research of what all happened during this time is done so well, the fiction with the history of the Bible are woven together well.

If I wasn't already a fan of Cliff Graham's writing, this would had solidified it. The depth and intensity of the story is phenomenal and I can't wait to read more.

Too Read!
5 out of 5

About the Author:
Cliff Graham is a former soldier and officer in the United States Army who now spends his time writing, speaking, and operating a growing series of media franchises. A graduate from Black Hills State University with degrees in political science and military science, he wrote his Lion of War series while working as a youth pastor. He currently lives in the mountains of Utah with his wife, Cassandra, and their children, and speaks to churches, men's groups, and conferences all over the United States.
He can be found online at www.cliffgraham.com.




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


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Review: Shadow of Ladenbrooke by Melanie Dobson (Litfuse Blog Tour & Review)

Title: Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor
Author: Melanie Dobson
Publisher: Howard Books
Pages: 352
ISBN: 9781476746142
Publication Date: June 16th, 2015

Synopsis: 
When Heather Toulson returns to her parents’ cottage in the English countryside, she uncovers long-hidden secrets about her family history and stumbles onto the truth about a sixty-year-old murder.

Libby, a free spirit who can’t be tamed by her parents, finds solace with her neighbor Oliver, the son of Lord Croft of Ladenbrooke Manor. Libby finds herself pregnant and alone when her father kicks her out and Oliver mysteriously drowns in a nearby river. Though theories spread across the English countryside, no one is ever held responsible for Oliver’s death.

Sixty years later, Heather Toulson, returning to her family’s cottage in the shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, is filled with mixed emotions. She’s mourning her father’s passing but can’t let go of the anger and resentment over their strained relationship. Adding to her confusion, Heather has an uneasy reunion with her first love, all while sorting through her family’s belongings left behind in the cottage. What she uncovers will change everything she thought she knew about her family’s history.

Award-winning author Melanie Dobson seamlessly weaves the past and present together, fluidly unraveling the decades-old mystery and reveals how the characters are connected in shocking ways.
Set in a charming world of thatched cottages, lush gardens, and lovely summer evenings, this romantic and historical mystery brings to light the secrets and heartaches that have divided a family for generations.
Review:
I discovered Melanie Dobson's books last year. It was a great discovery for 2014 and once I heard she had a new story coming out, I jumped at the chance the read it.

This story had such a wonderful mix and ended up being such an enjoyable read. It really was a story that had something in it for almost everyone. It had your contemporary story line, mixed with a touch of mystery. It had the historical fiction running parallel, it also had an amazing background set to an old English cottage in the countryside. Then there was also the sweet romance that was incorporated as well.

Melanie has a fantastic story that can weave all of these aspects together in her story flawlessly. Plus, the amount of research that she puts into her story is a delight, it shows on every page and helps bring you further in to the lives of these characters. I had a hard time setting down this book because, I really wanted to know the who, what, where, where, and why of it all. It had me hooked.

Waiting for new releases can be hard, but in so many cases, they are worth the wait. Shadows of Ladenbrook Manor is one that was worth the wait!

Too Read
4.5 out of 5

About the Author:
Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of thirteen historical romance, suspense, and contemporary novels. Two of her novels won Carol Awards in 2011, and "Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana" won Best Novel of Indiana in 2010. Melanie lives with her husband Jon and two daughters near Portland, Oregon.








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