Monday, December 24, 2012

The Tutor's Daughter - A Review

I have loved all of Julie Klassen's books and this is no exception!  I don't read many regency romance books, but I can't resist Klassen's books.  They are always engaging from the very beginning and keep you reading way past the time you should have put it down!

The Tutor's Daughter is a centered around Emma Smallwood.  Emma is trying to help her father rebound back after her mother passed away and the school that has been his life has experienced a declining enrollment. They reach out to a former family that had send their older boys to the academy, but had yet to send their younger boys.  To Emma's surprise the Weston family invites them to live at Cornwall estate and tutor the younger boys in residence.  A change would be good for both of them and Emma is excited to see the one brother that was her friend and slightly dreads seeing the one who used to torture her, the only girl at the school.  Upon arriving at Cornwall the Smallwoods are strangely welcomed, the family is obviously hiding something. Then Emma notices odd things at night and things missing from her room. 

What will become of the former friendships?  What is going on in Cornwall?  What are they hiding?

This is a great book.  It touches on some different and tough subjects that were unexpected.  I highly recommend this book.

Thanks to NetGalley for my advance copy of this book. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs is a sweet Christmas novella.  It is set in Scotland at Christmastime in 1894.  It is centered around Meg and Gordon, two lonely traveler's whose paths cross unexpectedly.  They discover that they share a painful common history.  Once the two are pushed together on Christmas Eve will they be able to reveal their common path in order to make amends with her family?  Will they form a unlikely bond?

Meg and Gordon were likeable characters.  I wish they could have been a little deeper and their relationship more developed, but it was just a novella and not at 400 page novel.  I think it could have used an epilogue set a few months or a year later.  There were a few questions I had after finishing the book.

I enjoyed this simple novella.  It was a quick and enjoyable read.  The story was very original and not something you have seen over and over again.  It was a story of redemption as well.  I liked it and would recommend it to others. 

I received this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Finally ...the story of how it all started

I love each and every one of Julie's books about the O'Connor family. I was eager to read the story about the relationship that started the O'Connor family and it didn't disappoint. The only thing wrong with it was that I wish there was more! Julie's books are always very well written and as I always I hate to see them end. Things that were mentioned in the previous books made me wonder how Marcy and Patrick's relationship started and now I know. I think I will have to pick up all the books and read them in order again now that the whole story is complete! I loved how Patrick allowed God to change him and how the friendship blossomed into something much more. Well done Julie! I highly recommend this book and any of her others. Waiting anxiously for her next book to be released!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Strong and Stubborn by Kelly Eileen Hake

This is the third book in the Husbands for Hire series by Kelly Eileen Hake.  This book focuses on Noami as the last unclaimed bride in Hope Falls.  Michael Strode is a recently widowed carpenter setting out to try and make a new life for himself and his son.

One of my first thoughts about this book is that it is not a stand alone book.  I think you must have read the first two books in order to follow the third.  With that being said I read the first two books when they were first published and it has been a while so I really could have used a refresher.  I got a little lost at times trying to remember details from the previous books.  There is a handy little guide that gives a brief description of each character that was helpful though. I might have to go back and read all three in a row in order to make sure I got it all.  There is alot going on in each book. 

Naomi and the other three ladies in the story put an ad in the paper for husbands.  They are landowners in what used to a be a mining town and is now a logging town thanks to the mine collapse and their attempt to redeem the town and their lives.  They had no clue that when they got to Hope Falls they would be greeted by many men who came as a result of the ad.  The first two books cover two of them women meeting their men and the third focuses on Naomi.  The men were happy to work for food and shelter as long as the women were still available to woo, but with just one woman left the game changes.  Michael has no idea what he has happened upon in Hope Falls.  He simply came for a job and a fresh start from his wife's family.  The story also continues with the story of Braden and Cora and their struggle to determine what their relationship will be after the accident. 

I liked this book. The story wrapped up part of it, but also left so questions and more story that needed to be told.  I feel like it set up for more books to be written in either this series or an additional series.  I didn't feel like Braden and Cora's story had been completed and then there is more to tell about all those loggers wanting brides. 

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I have said over and over that I am a sucker for the mail order bride or the bride who marries someone she barely knows. I was excited to read the description of this book because it is a a collection of short stories about just that!  I am not familiar with all the authors, but I do enjoy reading Cathy and Kelly Hake's works so I knew I wouldn't be disappointed.  

There are 9 different short stories in the collection.  Overall the collection was good, but I think that the 7 in the middle absolutely went together in a collection and the first and last were a little out of place. 

The last story, Finishing Touches, was good, but didn't fit the wagon train/frontier genre.   The first story, Joie de Vivre,  was not only out of place, but just wasn't an enjoyable read for me.  There was too much french without translation and I understand a little bit of french from the years I took classes.  The setting of the first story didn't appeal to me and therefore made the story just ok.

THe 2nd story, Button Strong Bride,  was wagon train marriage that was right up my alley.  I liked the button strand that was a major part of the sweet story.  I had never heard of it before.  I don't know if is was a real tradition to start a button collection for young girls, but if it wasn't it should have been. 

The 3rd story, The Wedding Wagon, was once again a wagon train marriage that I really enjoyed.  It was a sweet story of a young lady marrying her best friends brother that she has only met just a few times.  I think I would have liked to have read more about this family.

Stories 4-7 were all connected.  In Halter to Alter four sisters are sent off to be mail order brides, but arrive to meet a man who wanted four bridles and not four brides.  All four books are the stories of the four sisters and the men that win their hearts.  The other stories are From Carriage to Marriage, From Bride to Pride, From Alarming to Charming.  I enjoyed reading about the sisters and how they found love.

The 8th story was A Vow Unbroken.  It was a sweet mail order bride story that I enjoyed reading.  It probably had the most spiritual content of any of the stories and made for a nice afternoon read.

The last story, Finishing Touches, was a good story although a little misplaced.  It was an arranged marriage were the sister took the place of the bride.  The setting was different than the majority of the book, but still a good read. 

This book was given to me free of charge from Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I think each of Karen Witemeyer's books is better than the last.  This one was a real page turner!  The Archer brother's are committed to holding on to their land since the death of their father.  They never leave and they never let anybody on their land.  Meredith Hayes overhears somebody threatening the Archer land and feels duty bound to warn the brothers, especially Travis Archer who saved her life when she was just a child.  Meredith runs off from her Aunt, Uncle, cousin and the man courting her that is threatening the Archers.  She gets there in time to warn them but is forced to stay on their land, in their house and her reputation has been compromised by staying with four single men.  Her aunt and uncle will not hear of anything other than her marrying one of the Archer's.  Meredith's heart has always belonged to Travis Archer, even if he didn't know it.  The four brothers draw straws to see who gets to marry Meredith, not who has to marry Meredith.  All Meredith wants is to be loved by Travis Archer, but is it possible?

This was another hit by Karen Witemeyer.  I wish she could write them faster!  I would love to read about the other brother's in the story and where life takes them at the end of the book.  I definitely will read this again, I have already read it twice! Waiting on her next book.....

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Twice a Bride by Mona Hodgson - My Review

Twice a Bride is the fourth book in the Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek series.  I was eager to read this book because I thoroughly enjoyed the first three books in the series.  I wasn't disappointed in the book, I thought it was another great book by Mona Hodgson.  I do however think that it is important to read the other books in the series.  I found myself trying to recall things from the past books to help pull things together in the current story.  The stories don't really continue from book to book, but the characters reoccur.

The fourth book is not about a Sinclair sister, but about Willow Peterson who is the sister in law of Ida Sinclair Raines.  I had a hard time recalling Willow's backstory and felt myself needing to reread.  There was enough detail to help me understand the character again though.  Willow is a widow and an artist.  She is trying to figure out how to make her own way after the loss of her husband and then her father.  Trenton Van Der Veer is a photographer setting down roots for the first time after leaving his fiance that was not who he thought.  Trenton needs an artist to colorize photos and paint portraits of his photgraphs.  Willow answers his ad in the local paper and is thrilled about doing what she loves.  Both are very guarded emotionally and not expecting to ever find love again.  All the same characters are back and Harlan Sinclair finally makes it to Cripple Creek to reunite with his daughters and meet the rest of his new family, but he doesn't arrive without a few surprises.

Overall this is a good book that I would recommend as part of a series. It was a nice ending to the series.  I will look for more books to come out by Mona Hodgson. I was given this book free by the publisher in exchange for my review. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

We all know that I love Mary Connealy!  I have read all of her books and loved them.  I eagerly awaited the release of Over the Edge and I was not disappointed.  This is the 3rd book in the Kincaid Brides Series. 

We were introduced to Rafe and Julia, Ethan and Audra, and Seth in the earlier books and we did hear Seth mention Callie, but nobody knew who Callie was!  Book two left us hanging with the question of how on earth did Seth Kincaid have a wife. 

The book starts out with a shoot out in true Mary Connealy style.  We are quickly introduced to two new family members and lots of action.  Oh and the bad guys are still out there looking for the Kincaids. 

This was a great book.  Callie and Seth are just fun.  I like their story and their connection.  The introduction of Heath stirred things up for the family, but they kept going.  The book answered lots of questions about Seth and what he had gone through before, during and after the war.  We finally figure out what the bad guys are after. 

It was a great end to a great series by Mary Connealy.  I highly recommend this book and all of her others.  I do think that Ethan and Audra's story was my favorite though!

This book was given to me free of charge from Bethany House in exchange of an honest review.

Over the Edge, Mary Connealy, 978-0-7642-0913-0

Be Still My Soul - My Review

I was excited to get this book to read.  I am drawn to stories where people marry who hardly even know each other, I couldn't imagine! 

The book starts off as I imagined it would.  Gideon steals a kiss from Lonnie, her dad gets mad and forces them to marry.  Although neither are excited about the marriage they both see it as an opportunity to escape their current lives.  The book takes you on a tough journey as the couple who barely knew each other tries to make a life.  She loves the Lord and he doesn't have time for the Lord. 

I think this book had the potential to be great, but it fell flat for me.  The couple faced challenges and obstacles and the story as a whole was a good story of turning one's life around, but there just wasn't much between Lonnie and Gideon.  There was a lot of thinking and not alot of talking between them.  I would have liked to see more interaction between the main characters.  The supporting characters were good and well developed, but not the main two as a couple. 

To me the book was just ok.  I would be curious to learn about the other stories in the series to see if it continues Lonnie and Gideon's story or tells another couple. I feel like there needs to be more of Lonnie and Gideon. 

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Bride Wore Blue by Mona Hodgson, my review

This is the third book in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek series.  I have read the other two books in the series as well. I looked forward to being able to read this book and was excited for the opportunity to review it.  I think you could read this book as a stand alone, but that you would have a much greater understanding of the relationship between the sisters if you have read all three. 

Vivian is the last of the Sinclair sisters to make it to Cripple Creek.  She longs to be with her family, but wants to be independent and prove herself to be more than just the baby of the family.  She feels that if she can prove herself she can make up for mistakes in her past.  The first person Vivian meets once she gets to Cripple Creek is Deputy Carter Alwyn who she immediately clashes with, but is also strongly attracted to.  Carter is drawn to Vivian as well, but she keeps pushing him away.  Vivian thinks that because she has made mistakes in her past that she doesn't deserve a man like Carter.

This story was a great story of forgiveness.  It was a little predictable, but that's ok it was a good, easy read.  I think the first book in the series was my favorite, but I have like all of them.  I would recommend the series and look forward to reading the next one that is due out in October. The title of the book isn't the most descriptive of the story though. 

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

I have been gone for so long...

I really haven't been gone, just absent from blogging.  I took a little bit of a hiatus because there were alot of changes going on in my life.  The spring is is generally a very busy time in my life, but this year especially so.  I was asked to apply for a new job and the process of interviewing and starting a new job just became overwhelming.  I wasn't able to read a book for about three months!  That is totally unheard of for me.  I did manage to sneak in one a few weekends ago and then just recently was able to get back to reading like I like!  All that to say I haven't blogged because I hadn't read, but that is about to change!  I have a few books I am eager to read and some that I have read that I loved and I want you to love too!

The Widow of Saunders Creek

When I first got this book I was excited to read it but then put it aside for a while. I just wasn't drawn to it. I did however give it a second chance and I am glad that I did. A story that at first didn't appeal to me began to unravel and the characters developed deeply. I was a little unsure about the spiritual battle that took place and said "this can't be pleasing to the Lord". I realized that everyone doesn't face the same battles that I do.

Corrie is trying to make it through life after the loss of her husband and she moves to a home he inherited in order to be close to him. She begins to believe he is there. She also hires her husband's cousin as a contractor to fix up the home. Eli is a man of strong faith who begins to help Corrie cope with not only her loss, but her spiritual battle. Can he fight the darkness and show the promises?

This book was a daring attempt that succeeded. It isn't the normal christian fiction and it pushes the envelope a little. It is very creatively written and definitely out of the box! I would recommend it.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Song of My Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer - My Review

I waited and waited for this book to arrive in my mailbox.  I haven't read alot of Kim Vogel Sawyer's books, but I have enjoyed the ones I have read.  This book really appealed to me because of the musical aspect.  I love music.  I finally received the book on Monday and started reading immediately.  It didn't take me long to realize that I liked it.  I finished in a little more than a day!

Sadie Wagner is the oldest in her family and used to taking care of everybody.  She loves her family and feels the need to help provide for them after her stepfather is injured and cannot work. Her cousin Sid comes through with a respectable job opportunity for her in Kansas as a store clerk and there is also the possibility of singing in the town's new opera house.  Sadie and her parents feel that God is calling her to Kansas.  Thad is also called to Goldtree, Kansas as the sheriff and is given the challenge of uncovering who is in charge of a bootleg operation. Upon arrival Sadie and Thad are drawn to each other and Sid isn't so sure he likes it. 

Sadie struggles with trying to provide for her family the best way she can and making sure she goes about it the right way without compromising her beliefs.  Thad is struggling with his call in life and the roadblocks that keep popping up. 

All in all it is a sweet romance with a strong faith base.  The characters are engaging and likeable and some are just quirky.  The main characters have struggles in their faith that allow the reader to see how they conquer the issue and grow from it. 

I would recommend this book for a light, enjoyable read for any age.

I received this book from Bethany House for free to review.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Maybe I really am a writer...

I am a reader, but I have never professed to being a writer.  I don't have novels on my computer waiting to be published or notebooks full of short stories, but I do write.  My high school English teacher would be really disappointed in my ability to follow the rules of writing, so let's not tell her.

 I have written some devotionals for kids that have been used in church publications as well as a few for some adults.  What I am most proud of writing are my preschool music programs. 

I have said before that I teach music and chapel for preschoolers.  Part of my job is to put together our Christmas program and our graduation programs.  I love doing this!  I have written three dramas/musicals for my kids and am currently working on my fourth.  I have a secret desire to publish them for other church preschool programs to use. 

I am waiting to be inspired four my fourth program.  I have some broad ideas, but really need to narrow it down and get to writing.  Clearly I am avoiding doing the work.  I am going with a jungle theme and "One True God".  I'll let you know how it goes!

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Sound Among Trees by Susan Meisnner - A review

A Sound Among Trees by Susan Meissner is set in Virginia at Holly Oak which is a house that survived the Civil War and other tragedies.  The family that owns Holly Oak seems to have had its own heartaches that may be linked to the house itself.  The women who have resided here seem to struggle unnecessarily.  The house is occupied present day by Adelaide and her great grandchildren along with their father, Carson.  The children’s mother, who was Adelaide’s granddaughter that she raised alone, died a few years ago.  Carson recently remarries and brings his new wife, Marielle,  to reside at Holly Oak.  People begin to bring up that the house is haunted by Adelaide’s great grandmother who was a spy for the Union during the war.  Marielle must figure out to make her new life in this home that may or may not be haunted. 

This is quite a different book.  It is set in present day, but also has a part of the book that is letters written during the civil war.  It was very different than anything I have ever read.  I liked the book, but I did have a hard time getting into it.  Once I got several chapters in and more of the mystery began to unfold I started enjoying a lot more.  I wanted more of the letters and more of the historical part of the book.  I felt that it was the best part. I would have liked more from the Civil War letters because that is what I truly wanted to read.

This was a good book and unique.  It blended the past and the present.  There are lessons in overcoming the past and not allowing things of the past to continue to shape present. 

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen - A Review

Margaret Macy is trying to escape her stepfather and his plans to marry her off to his nephew.  She just needs to make it a few more months until she receives her inheritance.  One night she has had enough of his plotting ways and decides to run away with her maid who was just fired.  She runs away in disguise and hides out with the maid.  Knowing that her stepfather has everyone looking for the two the run as far as their money will take them. Both find jobs as maids in another town.  Margaret is hired by a man she helped while in hiding because he feels the need to repay her kindness.  She has no idea that the family she is hired to work for is the same family who sons were once her suitors.  She works and hides from her stepfather as well as trying to keep her identity a secret from the Upchurch family.  While working, she begins to realize that she made a mistake in rejecting Nathaniel Upchurch.  Nathaniel has never forgotten about Margaret who broke his heart.  Will they discover her secret and a love for each other?

As usual, Julie Klassen's books are excellent!  I enjoyed this book and found myself unable to put it down. I was wrapped up in Margaret's transition from high society to the life of service. She changed so much as a person during this time.  She grew because her eyes and her heart were opened.  She learned to look past what she saw and look deep and this allowed her to see who the Upchurches really were.  The subplots were excellent too, I found myself really wanting to know what was happening in them and not just wanting to read the main story.  The only negative was that I didn't like how it ended, not that I didn't like the way it wrapped up, I just wanted there to be another chapter or epilogue to give me an insight into what happened after the ending!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Inconveneint Marriage of Charlotte Beck by Kathleen Y'Barbo - A review

Charlotte Beck wants nothing more than to be an adult, go to college and work in her father's company.  Alex Hamby wants to continue his work as an astronomer and not worry about what society expects of him.  The two meet and have an immediate dislike of the other.  Charlotte has a hard time presenting herself as an adult to her father and society.  Alex learns that it is up to him to secure the family's future socially and financially.  Daniel Beck, Charlotte's father, sees something in the two and decides that he has a solution to both of their problems.  If Charlotte and Alex  agree to marry, Alex has the money to secure his family and Charlotte can go to college and be guaranteed a place in her father's company.  Can the they agree to an inconvenient marriage?

The title of this book caught my attention.  You always hear about a marriage of convenience, not inconvenience.  I have only ever read one novella by Kathleen Y'Barbo,  Golden Days.  I didn't realize that this book was the third in a trilogy and I have not read the others, but I did not feel lost.  I enjoyed it!  I laughed and found myself rooting for the couple.  There was good tension and chemistry between the main characters.  I did find it odd that there were two parts of the book with a four year gap in between the parts where basically nothing happened.  Nothing transpired between the two main characters during those four years so it worked, but I was a little surprised to jump forward four years.  maybe it wasn't the jump that surprised me but the fact that the main characters did not speak or correspond for four years and then at the end of that time were expected to marry.  Like I said though, it worked.  I found the story fun and different.  I would like to read more of Kathleen's books.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What books do you read over and over? Is there a book you lend out often?

My post about Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers has me wondering if other people re-read books?  Are there some that you just keep coming back to over and over?  I do.  My favorite authors get a special place on the shelf and keep getting read over and over.  When I don't have anything new begging me to read it I like to go back to what I know and is comfortable to hang out with certain characters again.  I think I pick up some new detail every time I re read a book.

What about lending books?  Is there a book that you lend all the time?  I found myself wanting to re-read a book the other day and I had shared it with a friend who was still reading it.  Are there any books that you have two copies of, one for you and one to share?

I love hearing what you have to say!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Something Everybody Should Read - Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is a book that everybody should read.  When my oldest son was very little and I was just getting back into reading alot and had yet to really immerse myself in Christian fiction I had alot of people tell me that this was their favorite book.  I began to read alot and had some friends show me where to start in reading Christian fiction and this book kept coming up.  My friends were amazed that I had never read this book and all said it was the best book they had ever read and were amazed that I knew nothing about it.  I tried to borrow it, but everybody seemed to have already shared the book with another friend.  One day I just bought it off of ebay to see what all the hype was about.  Oh my goodness!  The hype was for real!  This book was unlike any Christian fiction I had read, but really unlike any book I had ever read.  This is not your sweet Christian fiction book with perfect characters and perfect story lines full of sappy perfection.  This book is powerful and thought provoking and hard to read at times.

The book takes place in California during the Gold Rush of 1850.  It is about Angel, who is sold into prostitution as a child, and Michael Hosea, who is a Christian man, that feels God has told him to marry Angel.  The description of the characters already tells you that this book is going to be different and it is.  The first few chapters are hard to read, but necessary for the book.  The story is painful and beautiful.  You have to read it to decide for yourself.  I mean really read it.  You will either love it or hate it, and most people love it.  I really don't think there is any in between.  I insisted that my sister read the book so I gave it to her.  She kept it for a while and I know she never read all of it because her words were "it was ok".  Try it if you haven't read it, but you have to read all of it.  This is one of those books that I read over and over.  I have read alot of Francine Rivers books and am always pleased.

 I got to meet Francine and have her sign my copy of Her Daughter's Dream in 2010.  Super fun!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Another Author I Love - Deanne Gist

I am trying to think back to how I found Deanne Gist's books.  I honestly think I had seen them online, but found a couple of them at a bargain price at the local bookstore so I grabbed them because I was drawn to the covers.  I think the first one I read was A Bride in the Bargain and then A Bride Most Begrudging. They are both wonderful books.  After reading them I went out and purchased all of Deanne's books that were available, it was 2010 so that would be all of her books except the newest one released just this past October.  The next one I read was The Measure of a Lady and I immediately liked the setting and found myself researching some of the locations and comparing notes with locations in Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. 

These are her books
1. A Bride Most Begrudging
2. The Measure of a Lady
3. Courting Trouble *
4.  Deep in the Heart of Trouble *
5.  A Bride in the Bargain
6.  Beguiled
7.  Maid to Match
8. Love on the Line
  * These should be read in order

They are all stories of young love and they are passionate.  I really enjoyed every one of them.  A few of them are "edgy" and some readers found that too hard to swallow.  I am of the mindset that Christians aren't perfect so why should all Christian books be stories that have perfect characters?  I also have a hard time with people who don't think Christian fiction shouldn't discuss passion. I have read the Bible, and Song of Solomon for that matter.  I know that God designed marriage and every part of it.  I am also very aware that God gives us specific instructions of how to live lives that are pleasing to him. We all have sin, but we all can be washed of those sins. 

Deanne Gist is a great author.  Her books might not be for everyone and that is ok.  There are plenty of books out there that I have no desire to read, but hers are not in that category.  If you haven't read them I encourage you to try them.  I have passed them to many a friend who loved them!


Sunday, February 26, 2012

What are you reading?

I love to know what others are reading.  What are you reading?  I really like knowing what my favorite authors are reading.  I might try to do a post about that one day. Does that sound fun?  In the meanwhile these are books on my to do list.  It is a little long, but I have to finish it before more books come out that I must read.  Please share with me what you are reading.  I am always looking for more authors. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

In Too Deep by Mary Connealy

It's no secret that I love Mary Connealy's books.  I waited and waited for In Too Deep to release.  I didn't think it would ever be delivered to my Kindle!  When I finally got it I believe that I read it in record time.  I found myself reading in the 5 minutes I have between classes at school.  What can I say, I couldn't put it down.  I loved Out of Control, but I LOVED In Too Deep!

In Too Deep follows the Kincaid family, specifically Ethan Kincaid.  We met Rafe, Julia, Ethan, Seth, Audra and her kids in the first book, this picks up exactly where the first one left off.  Ethan is always smiling and seems to not really have any worries or cares and Audra is a young mom of two who wants to make it on her own.  Rafe, the control freak and loving older brother, pretty much insists that Ethan and Audra marry out of necessity.  Ethan and Audra agree because something has to be done, but they have no clue what they are in for.  Ethan doesn't want to care and Audra wants to be strong and independent.  Their hearts begin to open up and they become this precious family all while there are crazy people chasing them for money that they don't even know exists and a somewhat crazy brother living with them. 

There is truly a sweet love story here.  Audra's first marriage wasn't based on love and she expects the same thing the second time around, but knows that Ethan is much kinder.  Ethan really has no clue what it means to be a loving husband.  It is refreshing to see how innocent that Ethan really is.  I loved reading about how they both grow so much and begin to understand together what it means to be a loving husband and wife. 

The drama of the missing money keeps me guessing. I really have no clue what happened to it or what it really is.  I keep thinking it has something to do with cigars.  After reading the book I went back and reread each book to give me a better picture of the whole situation as well as the different relationships.  And then there is Callie, I needed to see how many times the memory of her appeared. 

Needless to say I loved the book!  The relationship of Audra and Ethan ranks up there with Belle and Silas from The Husband Tree.  I think they are some of Mary's best characters and one of the best romances.  I am anxiously awaiting Over the Edge. I want to know what on earth is going on with Seth and where all this missing fortune went. It will be a long time before I can climb back up from the cliff Mary left me hanging on.   

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Book or ebook?

Book or ebook? I have asked this question many times, not just to myself, but to lots of other people.  I love to read and always have so I have more books than I know what to do with, but I always want more! There is just something about the way a new book feels in your hands.  I am not a book snob, I like them new, but I do check books out from the library.  The problem with the library is that there is always a waiting list for the books that I want and I have no patience for that.  My checking account isn't big enough for my book addiction.  This is a problem, what do I do about it!  I also check out ebooks from my local library, but I have to read them on my laptop or smart phone and that is not always the easiest or most convenient thing to do. 

About two summers ago a friend suggested that I follow a page on Facebook because they would have links for free Kindle books as well as coupons, but what I really love is a free book. I also follow  I have a Kindle app for my home computer, smartphone and ipod touch.  Once I started getting the free books I realized that there were more free books than what I was seeing links for through this website and others .  Before I knew it I had quite a collection of free kindle books through Amazon, and all this without even having a Kindle.  Then I began to think that a Kindle sounded really cool, but that it wouldn't be cool to have books that I couldn't share.  Well wouldn't you know that now you can lend Kindle books.

Now let me make this perfectly clear I love a new book, especially a hardback book with a dust jacket, but I am running out of space to store books.  I also was having problems locating some of the books I wanted locally.  It's just too easy to get online and order a book that will be delivered to you electronically. So for Christmas this year I asked for a Kindle and I have loved my decision.  It was not a decision I came to quickly, I weighed many options.  There was Kindle v. Nook, or e reader v. tablet computer.  What on earth do you pick? This is how I decided.

After reading books on my smart phone, both Kindle books and epub books, I knew I wanted a screen on my fancy device that would allow me to read outside.  My smartphone was hard to read when I sat in carline or while outside.  I needed the screen to look like a book. This knocked out tablets because of the glare, besides I can do all that other stuff on my laptop or smartphone.  The decision of Kindle v. Nook was simple. To me, Amazon's site is easier to navigate and the categories are more specific allowing me to find the subcategory that I wanted with ease. I want to be able to find books that appeal to me quickly without having to sift through titles that were inappropriate.  So I decided that I wanted a Kindle and left all the technical details to my husband, it did however have to have a screen that look like a book page.

Why do I love my kindle? I love having lots of books at hand in such a little space.  It fits in my purse and goes with me everywhere.  I keep multiple books on it so I have something in case I finish my current book.  Who can beat having a book delivered to you the instant that it releases?  Now I did get frustrated when I had been waiting on a book release and it was available to ship as well in the store two whole days before the Kindle book, ugh!  I like that the Kindle saves my place.  How many times have my kids removed my bookmark?  I like that I can highlight a word and see the definition right then and there.  I do have the need to look up definitions sometimes even though I use such a large vocabulary everyday with my kids and while teaching preschoolers.  I like that I don't have to go anywhere to buy a book. I love that I can change the font size so I can read with or without my glasses or contacts.  My vision is so bad that I have hold a book right up under my nose to read it, who knows what will happen when my close up vision starts going downhill.  I like that there are so many free kindle books!  Can you tell that I love my Kindle?

What I don't like...  I don't like that there isn't a light, but that was solved fast enough with a clip on book light.  I bought the book light for around $10 at BAM and it works great.  Shh.. don't tell them I use it with my Kindle.  I also can't read all of the books I check out from the local library, some I still have to use Overdrive for, which is fine, but not the same. 

So for now it is Kindle for me, its just too easy.  I do still buy books though because sometimes you get a great deal, sometimes you just can't resist and of course you need to have a place for an author to sign their work.  I say that like I have more than four authors autographs.

These are just a few a the books I have gotten for free for Kindle that I am most happy about four of them are by authors I discovered before getting the Kindle book for free, but most of them I found through free Kindle books.  These are all great authors!  I should say that if these authors have multiple books published, I have read most of their other books as a result of my find.  I have about 170 Kindle books and paid for less than 20 of them.  I am quite proud of my little collection!

1. Paper Roses by Amanda Cabot
2. The Frontiersman's Daughter by Laura Frantz
3.  Maid to Match by Deanne Gist
4. The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund
5. Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman
6. The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen
7. No Place for a Lady by Maggie Brendan
8. A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman
9. She Walks In Beauty by Siri Mitchell
10. Daughter of Joy by Kathleen Morgan
11. Surrender the Heart by MaryLu Tyndall
12. A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

So exciting!!!

The main reason that I started this blog was to tell people about all the books I find that I love.  I also really wanted to get into doing book reviews.  I realized one day that people were being asked to review books and I was jealous.  My opinion is just as good as anybody else's right?  Ha!  Well, after contacting several publishers and getting turned down by several because I haven't blogged enough or don't have enough followers, I was contacted today to pick between four books to review!  I am so excited.  I really had a hard time choosing because one book I already read and started it on the day that it came out.  All of the other books on the list were ones I am waiting to read.  So I made a decision and hopefully should receive it in my mailbox soon.  I don't know if I should really believe it until it gets here, but I am going to be excited for now. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

So many brides!

I believe that I have already confessed that I am a sucker for mail order bride books or marriage of convenience books.  There is something about the whole concept that just fascinates me.  I think my first experience with such a story line was in Janette Oke's Love Comes Softly and ever since then I have been hooked.  Women who did this are more brave than I could ever imagine!  I'm glad I got to marry for love ;)! 

Amazon suggested, based on my reading history, that I read the Texas Boardinghouse Brides by Vickie McDonough.  I know you should never judge a book by it's cover, but I have to say that the cover art for The Anonymous Bride didn't appeal to me.  Never fear, I am not that shallow.  I really thought the book description sounded good and a little different so I had the local library transfer it to my branch.  Let me just say that the cover doesn't do this book justice, or any of the books in this series for that matter.  Let me tell you a little bit.

The Anonymous Bride... Luke Davis is returning home after ten years of the army and running from the hurt caused when the love of his life married another.  He returns to Lookout, Texas to be with his only family, his two prankster cousins.  His former fiance is still there, but now widowed, and he cannot forgive what she did.  His two cousins think he needs to move on and that they should help by sending for mail order brides.  To their shock as wellas Marshal Luke's and all of Lookout, three brides show up ready to marry Luke.  Can Luke move on when Rachel, his former fiance, is right there everyday?

What I love about this book is that the crazy marriage plotting cousins are men, which is totally out of the ordinary.  I love that it made me laugh.  In order for Luke to pick a bride, the town decides to have a bride contest and they compete in the domestic arts so to say.  I must say that is very original! Yes, this is a romance, but there is also comedy and of course a little gun-slinging, this is Texas after all.  After reading it I really had to find the other two books in the series.  You can take from that that I liked the book!

Second Chance Brides and Finally a Bride follow the brides that were not chosen, the crazy cousins and Rachel's daughter from the marriage she left Luke for all those years ago.  I was also pleased with each of them and once again the covers don't do the book justice.  I will be looking for more Vickie McDonough books to read! 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Been busy reading

I have neglected my blog because I have been so busy reading!  My library just added a ton of new books to their digital library and I got completely wrapped up.  New year, new budget, new books is what I am guessing.  I have also completely exhausted my Amazon gift card that I got for Christmas!  I also ventured to 2nd and Charles for the first time.  Do you have that store?  It is a massive store where you can buy and sell your books.  They have new books, but most are used.  I could seriously get in trouble there or any book store for that matter.

So what have I been reading you ask? I always love to know what other people have been reading and have been scoping out other blogs to get some ideas for some new reads.   I read My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren and A Cowboy's Touch by Denise Hunter, both are contemporary fiction.  For whatever reason I am drawn to historical fiction so these were out of the norm for me, but I really enjoyed them and would recommend them both.   

A Cowboy's Touch is the first in a series, so of course I will keep reading.   Abigail needs to escape the big city and the stress of her job.  Someone needs to check on a sweet elderly aunt in Montana.  Wade Ryan is hiding from life on his Montana ranch with his daughter that is in need of a nanny.  Abigail and Wade's lives collide in a delightful romance. 

My Foolish Heart is part of the Deep Haven Series, but I wasn't real sure where it fell in the series.  It definitely stood on its own and tackled some tough issues like panic disorder, overcoming life changing injuries from war and two people becoming comfortable in their own skin and in the plans and blessings God has in store for them.  Overall a great read!  I would love for someone to tell me how this works into the series and if any of the characters overlap etc. 

I have read so many more books, but I will have to get to those later!  I only have so much time to write because I have books to read!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Summer of Promise by Amanda Cabot - My Review

Abigail Harding decides to leave Vermont to head west to Fort Laramie to check on her sister Charlotte.  She thinks that Wyoming will be dusty and boring.  Her stage coach is robbed a short distance from the fort, but Army Lieutenant Ethan Bowles is on board to save the day.  The two are thrown together during the robbery and once they arrive at the fort.  Ethan just so happens to be best friends with Abigail's brother in law.  Abigail is bound and determined to not like Wyoming and return to her intended and her teaching position in Vermont.  Ethan has no need for a headstrong woman or love.  There are robberies going on in and around the fort and both Ethan and Abigail feel the need to determine who is responsible. Abigail also needs to help everyone she meets and somebody has to keep her safe. 

I loved this book! I waited for the release date for a while and downloaded it first thing on the morning that is released.  I was not disappointed!  There were lots of twists and turns in the book that kept me reading.  I was always surprised.  Just when I thought I had figured something out I would be thrown for a loop.  I think I finished it in record time.  I totally identified with Abigail's need to fix things and help people.  I loved learning more about Fort Laramie.  I've read lots of books where the characters briefly visited the fort, but I really enjoyed it as a setting for this book.  The famous fort is no longer just a stopping point on the Oregan trail (remember that game in elementary school?), but a real place.  Amanda Cabot did a wonderful job bringing the fort to life.  I really look forward to the rest of the books in the series.  I want to see how things turn out for the other sisters.  Does it really have to be a year?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Another Favorite Author, Julie Lessman!!!

You know how when you discover something new you are so excited and need to tell everybody about the new thing you discovered?  Well that is how I feel about Julie Lessman and her books!  Julie's books kept popping up as suggestions on a website so I finally reserved them at my local library.  I got the entire first series, The Daughters of Boston,  last spring which includes A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied.  Let me tell you that the passion is definitely a prominent theme!  I have to say right off the bat that these books, as well as all of her books, are outstanding.  They are real, not sugar coated.  The books are complicated, there is conflict, and everything doesn't always end up rosy.  I promise that it all works together for good.  Have I mentioned that her books are thick, 480 pages thick? Not a quick lazy afternoon read by any means. 

This series is set in Boston during WWI and it follows the O'Connor family of eight. Patrick and Marcy are the loving parents, Sean is the oldest brother, Faith and Charity are the older girls, Lizzie and Steven are the younger siblings, and Katie is the baby of the family. With six kids you can imagine that there is some serious sibling conflict and it mainly occurs between Faith and Charity.  The family has a strong foundation of faith, but that is rocked over and over. Patrick and Steven go to war and the rest of the family moves to Ireland to be with family.  There is a constant back and for between Faith and Charity and their different love interests. There are real trials and tests to the faith that is the core of this family.  I could go on forever!  The books are bold and address situations that most Christian fiction doesn't even coming close to touching, but the result is incredible. 

Faith's book is A Passion Most Pure and Charity's is A Passion Redeemed.  Lizzie is the younger sister and her book is A Passion Denied. There is also a second series called Winds of Change and has a book dedicated to each of the remaining O'Connor siblings.  Katie's story is first in A Hope Undaunted, Sean's story is second in A Heart Revealed, and Steven's story will be released this year.

I enjoyed each one of these books and was totally engrossed in them.  I think I might just have to start both series over again in anticipation of the last one in the series.  I am looking to add all of the Daughters of Boston books to my personal library since I previously borrowed them.  If you see a bargain somewhere let me know!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

One of my favs!!! Or should I say three?

I love Mary Connealy's books.  I stumbled upon her books while looking for books on a website under one of those "if you like this you might like this"  links.  I went to the bookstore down the street and they just so happened to have the Lassoed in Texas Trilogy.  It looked familiar, so I bought it.  I was totally unaware of what Petticoat Ranch, Calico Canyon, and Gingham Mountain would do to me!  I was hooked.  These books are laugh out loud funny!  Of course I love historical fiction so this was perfect!  It has been a little more than two years since I bought this book and I have read 17 of her books, I think.  Does that say something?   I think so!  I have read more Mary Connealy books than any other author!  Well that's true if you don't consider those series I read as a young girl.  So for that reason I decided to to write about Mary's books for my first book review on my blog.

What I love, love, love about Lassoed in Texas...
1. It's 3 books in one
2. The characters all overlap
3. I am a totally fascinated with the idea of a marriage of convenience
4.  I couldn't put it down
5. I laughed out loud more than once, quite alot actually
6. I really never knew what would happen next
7. Each book has women who are strong and independent because they had to be, but all opened up to the love and support of the hero
8.  In Petticoat Ranch I love that the drama that always surrounds Clay and Sophie and the girls
9.  In Calico Canyon I love how Grace, the only woman in the family,  learns to understand Daniel and his boys.  Did I mention that I have three boys?
10.  In Gingham Mountain I love how Grant and Hannah meet because of their love for certain orphaned children and the interesting family that they have.

Needless to say I loved this trilogy!  I have read and re-read this book, passed it to friends and suggested it to many.  I hope you enjoy it too!

This is the link to the Video Book Trailer for Mary's new book In Too Deep. I can't wait for the release!


I love a good book and I read all the time.  I finally decided that I would do something about it.  When I find a good book I want to tell everybody about it, soo.... now I will.  I hope to add review from all the books I read and dream that maybe one day I will do an author interview here!  Watch for more!