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!