Saturday, January 31, 2015

January In Review

And the first month of the year has come to a close. One down...11 more to go. :-) 
I'm pretty pleased with how 2015 has kicked off. I set my reading goal a little higher for this year then last. I'm shooting for 115. If January is a good indicator, I think I will be able to achieve it easily, especially with the great books that are out!

Review:
Hidden Agenda by Lisa Harris (Revell)
 Always on my Mind by Susan May Warren (Tyndale Blog Network)
 The Dandelion Field by Kathryn Springer (BookLook)
 Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey (From the Author)
Blog Tour: 2/2/15-3/2/15
At Home In Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong (Revell)
Return to Exile by Lynn Gentry (Litfuse Publicity)
Blog Tour: 2/1/15-2/17/15

Bought:
 Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay
The Strength of His Hand by Lynn Austin
The Wishing Season by Denise Hunter
Review will be posted soon.
Audio Books:
 The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
 No reviews posted for these. They were just for fun. :-)

How was your January?
Reading anything that was just great and couldn't get enough of?

Stacking the Shelves (77)

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

Review:
 The Crimson Cord by Jill Eileen Smith (Revell)
The Trouble with Patience by Maggie Brendon (Revell)
Twisted Innocence by Terri Blackstock (Litfuse Publicity)
Betting on Hope by Debra Clopton (Litfuse Publicity)

Bought:
 Claiming the Cowboy by Linda Ford

This has been the week of book mail! It's been like Christmas. :-) Can't go wrong with that.
How was your book week?

Friday, January 30, 2015

January Photo Book Challenge: Week 4

The end of January is upon us and I have to say, that this is the first photo challenge that I have been able to see all the way through! I'm pretty proud of that.
 I still have a couple of days of January left to post, those will be up next week. :-) I also found another challenge for February and it looks like a lot of fun! If you want to check it out the hastag is #feb15bookchallenge. More the merrier!

Week 4:
Day 22: Book I Want to Buy
This is the only book by Karen Witemeyer I don't have and I hear it's the best!

Day 23: A Book That Surprised Me
I'm always cautious to read books set in Texas, due to the stereotyping that happens. I fell in love with this book and was pleasantly surprised how there were no stereotypes! It portrayed north Texas well!

Day 24: Haul
My book haul, so far, for the month.

Day 25: Can't Wait To Read
Anxiously awaiting this one!!

Day 26: Longest Book
Clocking in at 1,443 pages. The whole series is about tied in length really.

Day 27: To Read Next
Started Sabotaged, then reading Remember the Lilies next.

Day 28: Favorite Bookmark
All of the ones that authors have been kind enough to send. They are well worn! :-) I can't use use tasseled bookmarks, the cats would kill them.


I'm a collector of bookmarks...is anyone else like that? Or do you have a most favorite that you just have to use no matter what?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Strength of His Hand

Title: The Strength of His Hand
Author: Lynn Austin
Publisher: Bethany House
Pages: 331
ISBN: 978-0-7642-2991-6
Publication Date: September 1st, 2005

Synopsis:
He Has Achieved Enormous WEALTH and POWER-Yet There Is No HEIR.

The legacy Hezekiah has established as one of Judah's great leaders is threatened: his beloved wife, Hephzibah, remains barren. Desperate to provide a successor to her husband's throne, Hephzibah makes a forbidden pact with the fertility goddess Asherah.

Feeling repulsed and betrayed by her act of idolatry, Hezekiah destroys the pagan shrine. But in his rage, he himself is critically injured. As Hezekiah struggles to redeem his wife and save his nation, the aged prophet Isaiah arrives with divine instructions for the king to put his house in order and choose a successor.

With his life--and the future of his kingdom--hanging in the balance, Hezekiah once more cries out to the Lord.
Review:
This series, people, this series! Each book grows from the last. Each story flushes out more of the people. You get to see deeper into who they are and why they do what they do. These books get stronger as you go on.

The Strength of His Hand brings a change in just about every character thus far. Illusions that have been built up are shattered. Trust is broken. Hurt and bitterness sweep through many characters, along with PTSD in one. These people do not have it easy. They face a hard road and have to figure out a way through, even with an army breathing down their neck through most of the book.

Lynn Austin has such a gift for writing. She is able to take a story out of the Bible, leave the full integrity of the story intact, but also bring these people who lived thousands of years ago back to life and open the story up to you in a whole new and personal light. After reading through this book, I wanted to pick up my Bible. Hezekiah's story and Issiah's prophecies woven through this book was just phenomenal. 

In the first book, we were introduced to Shebna, he was Hezekiah's tutor. He offered support to him when had none. In book two...Shebna slowly started to lose favor in my eyes. Not even a quarter of the way through book three...I was ready to throw him out of the palace. Good gosh! For an adviser, he was as dumb as they come. But, I was interested to see what happened in his story. For as much as I wanted to get rid of him, Lynn kept you hooked to see what would happen next!

There is so much to this book and I'm afriad to go into more details in fear of giving things away.

If you haven't read this series...you need to!

Too Read!
5 out of 5


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday: Blessing

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: Blessing
Author: Lyn Cote
Publisher: Tyndale
Publication Date: July 1st, 2015

Synopsis:
From GoodReads
An impetuous love swept Blessing Brightman away from the Quaker community, into the highest ranks of Cincinnati society. But behind the glitter of ballroom and parlor, her spirit slowly eroded in an increasingly dangerous marriage. Widowed young, determined never to lose her independence again, Blessing reclaimed her faith and vowed to use her influence to fight for women's rights and abolition.Gerard Ramsay, scion of a wealthy Boston family, arrives in Cincinnati hoping to escape his father's clutches with a strategy that will gain him independence. His plan is soon complicated, however, by the enchanting widow. Never before has a woman spoken as if she's his equal--or challenged him to consider the lives of others.In a city nearly ablaze with racial tensions quickly dividing the country, can two people worlds apart possibly find common ground?
Why I'm Waiting:
 I was blown away by the first book in the series, Honor, last year. It was one of those stories that you couldn't put down and was just so different and unique, you savored it all at the same time. I can't wait to see how this series continues. 


What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Review: At Home In Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong

Title: At Home In Last Chance
Author: Cathleen Armstrong
Publisher: Revell
Pages: 295
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2248-7
Publication Date: January 1st, 2015

Synopsis:
What happens when the life you're running from won't let go of your heart?
Kaitlyn Reed and Steven Braden have always had a similar philosophy of life: when the going gets tough, they get going--out of town and away from the problem. Now they are both back in Last Chance, New Mexico, and trying to start over.

Kaitlyn is working to reestablish a relationship with the seven-year-old daughter she left behind six months earlier. Steven is trying to prove to his family that he is not the irresponsible charmer they have always known him to be. As Kaitlyn and Steven find themselves drawn to one another, one big question keeps getting in the way: How will they learn to trust each other when they don't even trust themselves?

With emotional depth and characters who leap off the page and into your heart, Cathleen Armstrong invites you to return once more to the dusty and delightful town of Last Chance.
Review:
I've been thinking on how to write this review for a little while. As I thought it out in my mind, it kept straying into a "preach it sister" post. I've had books hit close to home before, but this one hit the nail on the head in a whole other area and all of these thoughts just kept running through my head. So, I will try not to chase the bunny trail on this review...if I do, I apologize in advance.

Kaitlyn and Steven, they are both very different people, but share a common problem. One I can relate with. They are the youngest of their families. They have lived in the shadow of their older and better siblings....at least that is how it feels by the people who constantly talk about them around them.

They have been hurt by the snide and snippy remarks that have been hurled at them. The standards that their elder siblings set were high and when they didn't reach the mark, the decided to go the opposite way, they ran toward the trouble maker side. If they couldn't meet one expectation, they better try for the other. And, that is such a real battle as a young child. Goodness, it is real. Cathleen Armstrong captured this hurt so well and through the story, I kept thinking how hard it is the be the littlest. Everyone you know thinks of you as the baby and that you're no where near being mature enough. There isn't a lot expected from them because they are the youngest and when they have a good idea or thought, it is over looked.

This was a story that touched on something that really is not seen a lot...at least for me, and I enjoyed how Steven and Kaitlyn set out to prove everyone wrong and not in a revengeful way, but to show their maturity. Both were a bit lost from previous choices, but they know those actions aren't who they really are. They carry baggage and it haunts them, but they want to prove they are better then who people think they are. And they have to learn to have faith and learn trust and it was a very touching story.

At Home In Last Chance also is one that shows how decisions can affect people. Olivia, Kaitlyn's daughter has a lot to over come, but she has grown tremendously since the previous book, One More Last Chance. She is a smart and spunky little girl, but she was hurt badly and she has a lot to over come, but she has people who love her and the support she gets is wonderful.

There is a sweet romance to this story, but because these characters have learned, they take their time and it isn't a flash bang romance. It is sweet and it starts out as a friendship. I really enjoyed that part of the story immensely.

There was just one small thing that kind of caught my attention. It felt like the story ended a little soon. I guess since I was enjoying it a bit and was hoping for more. 

This was a wonderful story and it had many elements to it. Plus, we also got to see and visit with characters from the previous books in the series. And Gran/Miss. Elizabeth is still a wonderful central figure to the story. Last Chance wouldn't be the same without her love for those around her.

Too Read!
4.5 out of 5

About the Author:
Cathleen Armstrong lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, Ed, and their corgi. Though she has been in California for many years now, her roots remain deep in New Mexico where she grew up and where much of her family still lives. After she and Ed raised three children, she returned to college and earned a BA in English. Her debut novel Welcome to Last Chance won the 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award for Women's Fiction.

Learn more at www.cathleenarmstrong.com.




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

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Review: The Dandelion Field by Katheryn Springer

Title: The Dandelion Field
Author: Kathryn Springer
Publisher: Zondervan
Pages: 352
ISBN: 978-0-310-33963-2
Publication Date: January 27th, 2015

Synopsis:
This handsome firefighter makes a living coming to the rescue, but Gin doesn't need a man to fight her battles.

After Raine's dad walked out, Ginevieve Lightly never lived in one place too long, a rambling lifestyle that defined her daughter's youth. When their car dies in Banister Falls, Wisconsin, Gin promises Raine they can stay until she finishes her senior year of high school. Gin will do anything to make sure her daughter has a bright future . . . a future that's compromised when Raine reveals she's pregnant.

Dan Moretti has only ever called Banister Falls home. After losing his best friend in a tragic accident, Dan devoted himself to responding to fires, rescuing the helpless, and guiding Cody Bennett, his best friend's son, through life. With Cody being the epitome of the good kid, it was an easy job. Until he says four little words: "The baby is mine."

Knowing gossip of Raine's pregnancy will erupt sooner or later in the small town, Gin's reflex is to grab the suitcase and escape to a new city, a new life. But with each passing day, Gin's feet stay rooted in Banister Falls, and she falls a little more for this local firefighter who shows her not all men abandon women at the first sign of smoke.

As Gin and Dan do the best they can to guide the two teenagers through their early entry into adulthood, they discover together that romance can bloom in the rockiest of situations. And God can turn the pieces of a broken past into a beautiful new beginning.
Review:
This was a book that was hard to put down. It had raw emotions flowing through the whole story and it kept pushing you to see what decisions were going to be made. It had a very real story line that is being played out in almost every city in US. You may even know someone who is dealing with the tough decisions faced.

Ginevieve is a woman who has had a long and hard road in her thirty six years. She has dealt with more then some do in their whole life. And for half of her life, she's been on her own, raising her daughter, who she loves more then anything. She is a young mom, who is proud that her daughter has done so well in school and is looking forward to her going to college. Having lived the life she did, when her daughter announces she is pregnant, she doesn't hesitate to support and love her daughter and be there for her. She does everything opposite to how her mother treated her. Gin's strength and determination is just beautiful to see.

Raine is a young girl, who has been dragged pillar to post in her mom's gypsy lifestyle. She demanded that for her senior year, that she finish in one school. She is an innocent girl who would love to have friends and fit in. However, the doubts she has is heartbreaking. Cody is her rock of a friend and a great show that not all boys are creeps. However, a mistake is made and they have to step up and be responsible and handle everything together.

I have to say, I give major props to Cody. He is an awesome kid.

Now Dan...I loved his character. He is the epitome of what a bookish hero is. He is a guy who really is kind of pushed into the center of this new family's troubles, even though he isn't related by blood. Instead of running, he jumps in with both feet and offers support to everyone. As the story progresses and he and Gin get to know each other, you just root for him more and wish that the Dan's of life were easier to find!

I enjoyed this story a lot. I was kind of sad to see it end in all honesty. With the ending, I was left wondering over some things...and quietly hoping that there is a possibility of revisiting Banister Falls.

Too Read!
5 out of 5

About the Author:
Kathryn Springer is a USA Today bestselling author. She grew up in northern Wisconsin, where her parents published a weekly newspaper. As a child she spent many hours sitting at her mother's typewriter, plunking out stories, and credits her parents for instilling in her a love of books --- which eventually turned into a desire to tell stories of her own. Kathryn has written nineteen books with close to two million copies sold. She lives with her husband and three children in Marinette, Wisconsin.





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


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (76)

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

Review:
 Remember the Lilies by Liz Tolsma (Litfuse Publicity)
Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey (From the Author)

Bought:
 The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

It's been a very exciting book week for me! New releases I've been anxiously awaiting have come and I completed my collection of the full color edition of LHotP. My old Little House books have been beat up from years worth of reading.

How was your week?

Friday, January 23, 2015

January Photo Book Challenge: Week 3

Good grief! January is flying by and I'm a little late in posting. Third week of the challenge is done and it's time to share the fun!

Week 3:
Day 15: Book & Jewelry
Ah, nothing better then mixing my two obsessions!

Day 16: Worst Cover
Ok, the cover itself isn't' bad, it's the color of the book. Neon green. It sticks out like a sore thumb on my shelf. Green is nice, just not so fluorescent. The hard back was great all black, just didn't have room for it.

 Day 17: Favorite Childhood Book
I couldn't read hardly as a child because of dyslexia. However after I finally learned to read, these books became my friends and helped me. They were also all gifts. LCS from my aunt & uncle, LW and JE from my grandpa, and LH and Mara from my parents. Granted Mara was a school book. :-)

Day 18: Favorite Book to Movie Adaptation 
Ok, this may seem like a weird one. I love the movie! When I first read the book I was shocked by how much was left out of the movie. It was like reading a whole new story and I loved that!

Day 19: Favorite Quote
C.S. Lewis

Day 20: Bookshelf
This is just part of my historical fiction shelf.

Day 21: Favorite Book Couple
 Ron & Hermione

What is your favorite book quote?
I'm always on the hunt for more of them.

And movie adaptations...do you like the older movies or the new adaptations?