Showing posts from May, 2010

Nancy Drew Challenge May Recap

The Nancy Drew Challenge is a reading challenge for 2010 for readers to attempt to read all 56 original yellow hardbacks that were in the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories. Click here for more information or to sign up for the challenge. At the end of each month, I will put up a post where participants of the challenge can recap how they did during that month.

May was a slow month for me and Nancy. I have the books from the library but due to going to BEA and doing a reading challenge AND finishing up papers and exams for school, Nancy was last on the list. I did read five of them this month and they were all interesting reads. I think I"m started to get into territory where I've either NEVER read these books before or at the least I've only read them two times or less. I hardly remembered any of these plots.

I KNEW there would be a good reason why I was reading all 56 books in order. The Hidden Window Mystery (no. 34) has almost the exact same opening as Nan…

Book Review: "A Tailor-Made Bride" by Karen Witemeyer

Jericho "J.T." Tucker wants nothing to do with Coventry, Texas's new dressmaker. He's all too familiar with her kind—shallow women more devoted to fashion than true beauty. Yet, except for her well-tailored clothing, this seamstress is not at all what he expected. Hannah Richards is confounded by the man who runs the livery. The unsmiling fellow riles her with his arrogant assumptions and gruff manner while at the same time stirring her heart with unexpected acts of kindness. Which side of Jericho Tucker reflects the real man? When Hannah decides to help Jericho's sister catch a beau—leading to uproarious consequences for the whole town—will Jericho and Hannah find a way to bridge the gap between them?It's always nice when a debut book from a new author becomes a pleasant surprise to read. I actually really enjoyed this read for several reasons. One of them was because I really liked the fashion discussions. Usually most historical fiction that t…

A Matter of Character by Robin Lee Hatcher

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Matter Of Character
Zondervan (May 25, 2010)
Robin Lee Hatcher


Robin Lee Hatcher discovered her vocation as a novelist after many years of reading everything she could put her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and ketchup bottles. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Whispers from Yesterday), the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance (Patterns of Love and The Shepherd's Voice), two RT Career Achievement Awards (Americana Romance and Inspirational Fiction), and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over 50 novels, including Catching Katie, named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal.

Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. She is passionate about the theater, and several nights every summer, she can be f…

Book Review: "Amber Morn" by Brandilyn Collins

In book four of the Kanner Lake Series, a Saturday morning celebration at Java Joint coffee shop for the "Scenes and Beans" bloggers turns into terror when three gunmen burst into the coffee shop, shoot one person, and hold the rest hostage. Their demand: world attention. The stakes: the lives of over a dozen Kanner Lake citizens.

This was my favorite book of the series. I felt that it had all the right elements of a suspense novel. There was just enough suspense and action with the right amount of scare factor without being over dramatic or unbelievable. I really liked the inclusion of the blog in this book. It was very unique to bring it into the story because the gunmen didn't really know how it worked. Therefore even in times of great suspense there was humor because of general bafflement on both sides.

The strength of the novel for me was the inclusion of all the characters that have been featured throughout the series. To some, this might be overwhelming…

Book Review: "Almost Forever" by Deborah Raney

Bryn Hennesey, a volunteer at the Grove Street Homeless Shelter, was there the night the shelter burned to the ground and five heroic firefighters died at the scene. Among them was her husband, Adam. Like the rest of the surviving spouses, Bryn must find a way to begin again. But Bryn must do so living with a horrible secret.…

Garrett Edmonds’s wife, Molly, was the only female firefighter to perish in the blaze. As her husband, it was his job to protect the woman he loved.… How can he go on in the face of such unbearable loss and guilt?

And what started the fire that destroyed the dreams and futures of so many? Investigators are stumped. But someone knows the answer….

What would you do if you found out that you were the reason why something bad happened? Would you be able to own up to it, knowing that forever your life was going to change possibly negative for the rest of your life? Or would you hide it and hope that you could get away with it? That is the dilemma Bryn faces in this book…

Book Review: "Lumby's Bounty" by Gail Fraser

Tucked into the foothills of the Rockies lies the charming village of Lumby, where quirky but tolerant townsfolk usually make the best of any situation. Not a week goes by without some humorous mayhem occurring under the watchful eyes of the mayor, sheriff, and, of course, the town mascot, Hank, a pink flamingo who thinks he's a bald eagle...

How Lumby has come to host a hot air balloon festival is a long story, but the town's residents are jumping right into preparations. But in the Lumby tradition, it won't all be blue skies and smooth sailing...

Oh Lumby, how I wish you really existed. If you did, I would be booking my next vacation over there. I would love to have been part of the balloon competition and watch the festival come to life in the town. These books bring a sense of peace, calm and tranquility that help you to escape the troubles and business of life around you.

The characters, as always, are the key to the success to the novel. Regulars Mark and…

Book Review: "Brilliant" by Rachel Vail

Quinn Avery can handle change. It's just paint, right? Bright, blinding white paint covering her once dazzling red bedroom walls. Quinn knows she shouldn't be angry at her mom—she's doing what she must to sell the house—but still, Quinn is beyond mad, and she doesn't know what to do about it.Until now, Quinn was doing a pretty good job at pretending to be her old self—calm and brilliant Avery daughter, responsible big sister to Allison and Phoebe, piano virtuoso, girl who makes everyone proud—but without the sanctuary of her room, a new, wild Quinn is emerging. Lying, sneaking out, partying, Quinn is practically asking to get caught. When Quinn adds kissing the wrong boys—including her sister's boyfriend and her own piano teacher—to her list of crimes, has she gone too far to save herself?

Due to being part of a three girl family, I always look forward to reading books that focus on families involving three sisters. I have been especially looking to this story as i…

Frenzy by Robert Liparulo

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Thomas Nelson (May 18, 2010)
Robert Liparulo


Robert Liparulo is a former journalist, with over a thousand articles and multiple writing awards to his name. His first novel, Comes a Horseman, released to critical acclaim. Each of his subsequent thrillers—Germ, Deadfall, and Deadlock—secured his place as one of today’s most popular and daring thriller writers.

He is known for investing deep research and chillingly accurate predictions of near-future scenarios into his stories. In fact, his thorough, journalistic approach to research has resulted in his becoming an expert on the various topics he explores in his fiction, and he has appeared on such media outlets as CNN and ABC Radio.

Liparulo’s visual style of writing has caught the eye of Hollywood producers. Currently, three of his novels for adults are in various stages of development for the big screen: the film rights to Comes A Horseman. we…

Book Review: "When Good Wishes Go Bad" by Mindy Klasky

Things that have disappeared: her boyfriend; her life savings; three-and-a-half million dollars from the theater company that pays both their salaries. (Coincidence? Um, no.) Also, the groundbreaking play she's been slaving over has vanished in a puff of copyright-colored smoke.

Other, weirder things that have appeared: a magic lamp complete with genie wishes. A fully furnished (and paid-for) Manhattan condo and fabulous designer wardrobe. (The last two courtesy of the first one, obvs.)

So Becca's putting that last wish on hold. What with discovering a mesmerizing new play, getting it onstage and falling hard for the adorably awkward guy who wrote it, Becca is swamped. And that's without factoring in the guerrilla gardener, popcorn magnate and the gender-bending genie with an agenda of his/her own.

Now Becca's hoping that her good wishes don't go oh, so wrong….

Be honest, if you came across your own personal genie who granted you wishes, would you honestly know what yo…

Book Review: "Stealing Lumby" by Gail Fraser

Just a dot on the map of the northwest, Lumby looms big in the hearts of its residents. The townsfolk consider each other family as well as friends. And though the annual cow race can bring out the competitiveness in people, when times get tough, there is no better person to turn to than your nearest neighbor.

Lumby is thrown into the spotlight when one of the most important paintings of the twentieth century, The Barns of Lumby, is stolen. Town matriarch Charlotte Ross has a very personal connection to the painting-and to the artist, Dana Porter. And as a media frenzy descends on the little town, one of the actual barns disappears overnight from the rural landscape-and pieces of it begin showing up in the strangest places.

After reading the first book in this series, I could not wait to return to Lumby again. I had such a wonderful visit that I wish that this town actually existed. Right now I am in need of a place to rest and relax and Lumby is the perfect town for me to…

Book Review: "This Fine Life" by Eva Marie Everson

It is the summer of 1959 and Mariette Puttnam has just graduated from boarding school. When she returns to her privileged life at home, she isn't sure where life will take her. More schooling? A job? Marriage? Nothing feels right. How could she know that the answer is waiting for her within the narrow stairwell of her father's apparel factory, exactly between the third and fourth floors?

Normally I don't read a book because of it's cover. It's more because of the description of the book, the author or even the publisher. But when I first saw the cover of this book, I immediately thought of Betty Draper from Mad Men. I totally love the design of the cover as it immediately brings to mind a time in history where every one was trying to proper in a time when change was inevitable. Lucky for me I have been a big fan of The Potluck Club series which Eva Marie Everson has co-written. While this is her second solo novel, it is the first one that I've read and…

Book Review: "Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon" by Miralee Ferrell

Amidst a backdrop of thievery and murder in historic Bridal Veil, Oregon, a schoolteacher is torn between the memories of a distant love and the man who could be her future. Margaret Garvey had given her heart to Nathaniel, but he left town six years before. Now she's giving love another chance, but her decision to build a new life with Andrew is shaken when Nathaniel steams back into Bridal Veil on a riverboat to work at the nearby sawmill. When disaster strikes the town and threatens the welfare of its citizens, Margaret will be faced with the most important choice of her life.

What I have loved best about the Love Finds You series is how these books are introducing me to cities and towns that I have never heard of. I never knew that there was a town called Bridal Veil before and was delighted to read about how there's a small post office that receives wedding invitations just to have the Bridal Veil postmark on them. It's really nice to read about places that have smal…

300 Books in 2010

I finished my 300th book of 2010 today.

Seeing as how it's still only May, and not even half the year has gone by yet, predictions are looking good for lots more books to be read. Now back to more reading.

Book Review: "The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love" by Beth Pattillo

Reading, knitting, and laughter abound in Sweetgum, Tennessee! In this charming sequel to The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society, the ladies tackle another book list while Eugenie's newlywed bliss falters; young Hannah begins dating; and restless Camille resists a romance that would tie her to the small town forever. Will friendship keep them from coming unraveled?

It's time to return to Sweetgum and it turns out that the ladies we met previously are still not done with their secrets and relationships. This time the focus of their book choice and knitting is romance. And what better way than to look back on the great romance classics that literature has to offer? Once again, the book is split into different stories of all the women in the group. It might be a little too much for the reader as there are several members but once you are able to keep track of everyone, it becomes much easier.

One topic that gets brought up is the role of the pastor's wife in a church. I total…

Book Review: "Very Valentine" by Adriana Trigiani

In this luscious, contemporary family saga, the Angelini Shoe Company, makers of exquisite wedding shoes since 1903, is one of the last family-owned businesses in Greenwich Village. The company is on the verge of financial collapse. It falls to thirty-three-year-old Valentine Roncalli, the talented and determined apprentice to her grandmother, the master artisan Teodora Angelini, to bring the family's old-world craftsmanship into the twenty-first century and save the company from ruin.

While juggling a budding romance with dashing chef Roman Falconi, her duty to her family, and a design challenge presented by a prestigious department store, Valentine returns to Italy with her grandmother to learn new techniques and seek one-of-a-kind materials for building a pair of glorious shoes to beat their rivals. There, in Tuscany, Naples, and on the Isle of Capri, a family secret is revealed as Valentine discovers her artistic voice and much more, turning her life and the family business ups…