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Showing posts from July, 2010

Nancy Drew Challenge July Recap

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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.

Well, I am personally almost done with the challenge! In July I read 8 books, #s 44-51. So only 5 more books to complete my goal! Well the books I read for this month really had me getting annoyed with George. In every book she keeps mocking Bess for eating. Well you know what? It's nice to see a girl with a healthy appetite and so what if Bess is slightly plump? She is doing just as much as Nancy and George is doing. I'm not quite sure if that is what the authors intended but it seems to be a subliminal message saying it's not ok for girls to eat. The stories lately have been rather forgetta…

Dark in the City of Light by Paul Robertson

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This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Dark In The City Of LightBethany House (July 1, 2010)
byPaul Robertson


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Paul Robertson is a computer programming consultant, part-time high-school math and science teacher, and the author of The Heir. He is also a former Christian bookstore owner (for 15 years), who lives with his family in Blacksburg, Virginia.





ABOUT THE BOOK

What Evil Haunts the Shadows of 1870s Paris?

Baron Ferdinand Harsanyi — After his wife's mysterious death, this Austrian attaché holds control over mines whose coveted ore could turn the tide of war.

Therese Harsanyi — Swept up in new romance and the spectacle of Paris, the Baron's daughter is blind to the dangers stalking her family and the city she loves.

Rudolph Harsanyi — Unsure whom to trust, the Baron's son's grief over his mother's death twists into growing anger and a desire to break free.

As France and Prussia plunge toward war, one family is caught in a web o…

Book Review: "How to Be an American Housewife" by Margaret Dilloway

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How to Be an American Housewife is a novel about mothers and daughters, and the pull of tradition. It tells the story of Shoko, a Japanese woman who married an American GI, and her grown daughter, Sue, a divorced mother whose life as an American housewife hasn't been what she'd expected. When illness prevents Shoko from traveling to Japan, she asks Sue to go in her place. The trip reveals family secrets that change their lives in dramatic and unforeseen ways. Offering an entertaining glimpse into American and Japanese family lives and their potent aspirations, this is a warm and engaging novel full of unexpected insight.

As the first generation daughter of Asian immigrants to the US, I am always on the lookout for books that tell the stories of immigrant parents and their American born children. It doesn't matter what culture the people are from. The stories end up all being the same of people having to adapt to a new culture and wanting what's best for thei…

Book Review: "The Seeker" by Ann Gabhart

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Charlotte Vance is a young woman who knows what she wants. But when the man she planned to marry joins the Shakers—a religious group that does not marry—she is left dumbfounded. And when her father brings home a new wife who is young enough to be Charlotte's sister, it is more than she can bear. With the country—and her own household—on the brink of civil war, this pampered gentlewoman hatches a plan to avoid her new stepmother and win back her man by joining the Shaker community at Harmony Hill. Little does she know that this decision will lead her down a road toward unforeseen peace—and a very unexpected love.

This book starts off with your typical evil stepmother story, where the father is clueless and bewitched by his younger new wife. He seems ignorant to his adult daughter's feelings and doesn't seem to realize that his new wife is trying to get rid of anything from the old household including his own daughter. Charlotte is caught between her devotion for he…

Book Review: "So Over It" by Stephanie Morrill

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Senior year is over and Skylar Hoyt is ready to forgive and forget. Or at least forget. She wants a fresh start where people don't know about her partying past or her younger sister and her baby. A place where she won't run in to her ex-boyfriend every time she leaves the house. When she gets the chance to spend the summer in Hawaii with her grandparents, Skylar jumps at the chance to get out of town. But when her sister needs her, Skylar has to swallow her pride and come back home. Will she be strong enough to rise above the gossip and live the life God wants for her?

I've read a lot of young adult fiction, both Christian and general market. Even though I'm not a complete expert on the subject, I feel that I am one of the few readers who has read both kinds and can do a fair comparative. Sometimes general market YA has too much sex, language and drinking for Christian readers. Sometimes Christian YA is too clean and unrealistic for general market readers. I…

Book Review: "Lumby on the Air" by Gail Fraser

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Pam and Mark Walker are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary with a week-long family reunion and a ceremony renewing their vows. But when Mark's brother-in-law starts broadcasting his radio talk show from Montis Inn, his disparaging remarks about small-town life cause immediate rifts that only widen when he sides with a real estate developer who wants to turn Lumby into an asphalt Aspen. As the controversy pits family against family, and neighbor against neighbor, will the spirit that defines Lumby triumph once again?

A return trip to Lumby can never come too soon. This time the townsfolk are looking to see the family reunion of the Walkers at Montis Inn. Lots of preparations must happen to make sure this goes off without a hitch. Of course, this story would not be complete without traditional Lumby fare such as Mark making impractical decisions or Hank the flamingo showing up in unexpected places.

There is a lot to like in this book. I love the humor in this book…

Stars in the Night by Cara Putman

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This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Stars In The NightSummerside Press (July 1, 2010)
byCara Putman


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A Word From Cara:

I graduated from high school at sixteen, college at 20, and completed my law degree when I was 27.

My writing journey started in 2005 when I decided to write my first novel. Now I have eleven books published with more on the way.

People say I've accomplished a lot and that I must have life by the proverbial tail. Hardly! I grew up as a home schooled kid when home schoolers were misunderstood and oddities.

I struggle with balancing my writing and law career, plus being a good mom and wife.

I often fear people won't like my books.

I've walked through the deep pain of miscarriage.

Really, I'm just like you – I don't have it all together and have gone through tough times. But in His strength, I've discovered a strength I never knew I had. A strength I want you to discover, too.

In the end I'm just an ordina…

Book Review: "Courting Morrow Little" by Laura Frantz

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Morrow Little is haunted by the memory of the day her family was torn apart by raiding Shawnee warriors. Now that she is nearly a grown woman and her father is ailing, she must make difficult choices about the future. Several men—ranging from the undesired to the unthinkable—vie for her attentions, but she finds herself inexplicably drawn to a forbidden love that both terrifies and intrigues her. Can she betray the memory of her lost loved ones—and garner suspicion from her friends—by pursuing a life with him? Or should she seal her own misery by marrying a man she doesn't love?

I don't know much about the history of Kentucky. For example, I had no idea that the state (or territory at the time) used to be spelled Kentucke. Thanks to this book, I was able to learn this while enjoying a wonderful story. Morrow Little has returned from the city and finishing school to her frontier home to her father. They are still recovering from the Indian massacre that took the life…

Book Review: "Priceless" by Tom Davis

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Stuart Daniels has found purpose in life. After suffering the fallout of a tragic assignment, Daniels rediscovered faith and hope after a chance encounter with an extraordinary African orphan. Now his photo work also carries a personal mission: To educate people on the devastating effects of AIDS around the world. But when Daniels receives his next assignment to Russia, he unwittingly finds himself a key player in rescuing young girls caught in the tragic sex-slave trade.

This book tackles a subject many people don't like talking about. It goes outside our comfort zone. We don't like hearing about things that will make us uncomfortable. However human trafficking and the sex slave trade is something that we really need to know more about. There are so many innocent people all over the world that disappear every day against their will into this horrible industry. It is disgusting how humans will do this to another human simply to make money. I honestly do not know ho…

Heartless by Anne Elizabeth Stengl

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I'm currently reading this book so expect a review in a few weeks (yes I know the last time I said this, it ended up taking THREE YEARS before I posted that review. I promise it won't be that long this time)

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
HeartlessBethany House (July 1, 2010)
by
Anne Elisabeth Stengl

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she enjoys her profession as an art teacher, giving private lessons from her personal studio, and teaching group classes at the Apex Learning Center. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. Heartless is her debut novel.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Princess Una of Parumvir has come of age and will soon be married. She dreams of a handsome and charming prince, but when the first suitor arrives, she finds him stodgy and boring. Prince Aethelbald from the mysterious land of Farthestshore has traveled far to prove his love--and also…

Book Review: "The Promise of Lumby" by Gail Fraser

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At Montis Inn, the success of Pam Walker's on-location restaurant is leaving her overworked and frazzled, while her husband Mark's fascination with Internet auctions leads to some outlandish purchases, one of which requires military clearance. Meanwhile, Lumby's only veterinarian, Dr. Ellen Campbell, has decided to sell her business, and the townsfolk are in full panic mode. Who will tell blind Jeremiah that his old horse Isabella is eating rabbit feed, and who will help little Timmy convince his parents that a puppy is the perfect pet?

When animal doctor Tom Candor arrives in Lumby, he seems the answer to everyone's prayers. But some residents are not so trusting of the shy, pensive vet, especially newspaper owner Dennis Beezer, who is determined to expose Tom's secrets. The repercussions lead to an unpredictable, over-the-top adventure, and a heartfelt lesson the people of Lumby won't soon forget...

Oh Lumby, once you come to visit, you never wa…

Book Review: "The Recipe Club" by Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel

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Lilly and Val are lifelong friends, united as much by their differences as by their similarities. Lilly, dramatic and confident, lives in the shadow of her beautiful, wayward mother and craves the attention of her distant, disapproving father. Val, shy and idealistic—and surprisingly ambitious— struggles with her desire to break free from her demanding housebound mother and a father whose dreams never seem to come true.

In childhood, "LillyPad" and "ValPal" form an exclusive two-person club, writing intimate letters in which they share hopes, fears, deepest secrets—and recipes, from Lilly's "Lovelorn Lasagna" to Valerie's "Forgiveness Tapenade." Readers can cook along as the friends travel through time facing the challenges of independence, the joys and heartbreaks of first love, and the emotional complexities of family relationships, identity, mortality, and goals deferred.

The Recipe Club sustains Lilly and Val's bond through the dec…

Movie Review: "The Karate Kid (2010)"

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Well I don't know about most of you but I grew up watching the original Karate Kid. It came out right after I was born, but we watched it constantly on VHS growing up. "Wax on, Wax off" could be heard quoted constantly at family reunions and anyone who had the name Daniel was always referred to as Daniel-son. Mr. Miyagi is forever an icon. (Did you know that Pat Morita was the first and only Asian American to be nominated for an acting Oscar?) Therefore when I heard that there was going to be a remake of this classic movie, I was thinking "Seriously????" Even though Jackie Chan was going to be in it (and it was probably between him, Jet Li, or Chow Yun Fat for the studios to pick from), I didn't really have any desire at first to see the movie. Why mess with perfection?

Then I was dragged along to the theater with my sister and her boyfriend. They were willing to pay for my ticket so I figured "Well, if I don't have to pay, then if it'…

Nerds Heart YA Tournament

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Yes I'm way late in posting the results of my choices for the tournament. Please forgive me! Tip for everyone: DO NOT MOVE. It will wreck havoc on your life!

Anyways, I was very excited to be chosen as a first round judge for the Nerds Heart YA tournament because I'm trying to go outside my normal genres and read more general market fiction. However, when I saw the books that I would be judging I was a bit surprised. I appear to be the only mainly Christian fiction blogger in the first round judging list and I was given the only Christian fiction book in the entire tournament. Still though, the book was one of my favorite Christian YA reads of 2009 and the other book look interesting as it was one I normally would never have picked up so I was more than read for the challenge.

The two books I was chosen to read was Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin (Simon and Schuster Children's 2009) and Me, Just Different by Stephanie Morrill (Revell 2009).


Jason Blake is an …

Book Review: "Stay" by Allie Larkin

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Savannah "Van" Leone has been in love with Peter Clarke ever since she literally fell head over heels in front of him on the first day of college. Now, six years later, instead of standing across from him at the altar, Van's standing behind her best friend Janie as maid of honor, trying to mask her heartache and guilt as Janie marries the only man Van's ever loved. Before, Van's mother died, she told Van never to let Peter go, but as the couple exchanges vows, Van wonders if her fairy tale ending will ever come true.

After the wedding, Van drowns her sorrows in Kool-Aid-vodka cocktails and reruns of Rin Tin Tin, and does what any heartbroken woman in her situation would do: She impulsively buys a German Shepherd over the Internet. The pocket-size puppy Van is expecting turns out to be a clumsy, hundred-pound beast who only responds to commands in Slovak, and Van is at the end of her rope... until she realizes that this quirky giant may be the only l…

The Sister Wife by Diane Noble

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This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Sister WifeAvon Inspire (June 22, 2010)

byDiane Noble





ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Diane Noble is a former double finalist for the prestigious RITA Award for Best Inspirational Fiction, a finalist for the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award and the Reviewers' Choice Award, and a three-time recipient of the Silver Angel Award for Media Excellence.

With more than a quarter million books in print, Diane feels incredibly blessed to be doing what she loves best—writing the stories of her heart.

For the last three years Diane has been honored to be lead author for the popular Guideposts series, Mystery and the Minister’s Wife (Through the Fire, Angels Undercover), and has recently returned to writing historical fiction. She is currently writing book two of her new historical series, The Brides of Gabriel. Book one is The Sister Wife.

Diane’s hometown is Big Creek, California, a tiny village nestled in the rugged Sierra Nevada back countr…

Book Review: "Touching the Clouds" by Bonnie Leon

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Kate Evans is an adventurous and independent young woman with a pioneering spirit. She pilots a mail-delivery plane in the forbidding Alaskan wilderness, the lone woman in a male profession. But even that seems easy compared to finding true love. She likes a fellow pilot and would even consider marrying him—if it weren't for Paul, a mysterious man on her mail route with a gentle spirit and a past to hide. Can Kate break through the walls Paul has put up around his heart? And will her quest for adventure be her demise?

I have to say, after finishing this book, I think it's Bonnie Leon's best novel to date. I had a really good time reading this book. After several series that took place in Australia, Leon returns to the setting of her earlier novels, Alaska. To me, I felt that the author enjoyed returning to the familiar setting because the story just seemed to flow with fluidity. I never got bored once while reading, and neither did I feel that the story seemed to …

Book Review: "Perfectly Dateless" by Kristin Billerbeck

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Daisy Crispin has 242 days to find the right date for the prom. There's only one problem—her parents won't let her date or even talk to a guy on the phone. Oh, and she's totally invisible at school, has to wear lame homemade clothes, and has no social skills. Okay, so maybe there's more than one problem. Can she talk her parents into letting her go to the prom? Or will they succeed at their obvious attempt to completely ruin her life?

I have been a big fan of Kristin Billerbeck's adult chick lit for years so I was really excited when I heard she was going to be writing a YA novel. Her style of writing is excellent and I've been able to introduce many Chick lit fans who normally don't read Christian fiction to her books. I was hoping that with this book I would be able to do the same with the YA crowd. That being said, we have a winner here.

Ah prom. This book brought back to mind so many memories of that dreaded event. It makes me want to laugh a…

Book Review: "Motorcycles, Sushi and One Strange Book" by Nancy Rue

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Normal? While family dinners and vacations to touristy destinations are ordinary events for her "normal" friends, fifteen-year-old Jessie Hatcher's normal life means dealing with her ADHD and her mother's bipolar disorder. So why is Jessie shocked when the unexpected happens? Now her "normal" includes living in Florida with the father she always thought was dead and learning the secrets of sushi from a man who teaches by tormenting her. Life isn't any saner with her dad, but a cute guy and a mysterious book might just be the crazy Jessie needs.

From the cover of this book, this looks like it will be your normal, fluffy, Chick-lit YA story. Well as the old saying goes, don't judge a book by it's cover. The cover may be light but the story is heavy and deep. As soon as you start reading, Jessie's situation hits you from the get go. She's only 15 but she's experienced a lifetime of hardships that some adults will never have to…

Back on Murder by J. Mark Betrand

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This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Back On MurderBethany House (July 1, 2010)
byJ. Mark Betrand


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



J. Mark Bertrand has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston. After one hurricane too many, he left Houston and relocated with his wife Laurie to the plains of South Dakota.

Mark has been arrested for a crime he didn't commit, was the foreman of a hung jury in Houston, and after relocating served on the jury that acquitted Vinnie Jones of assault. In 1972, he won an honorable mention in a child modeling contest, but pursued writing instead. Besides his personal website, visit his Crime Genre website at http://www.crimegenre.com/.

The next book in this series, Pattern Of Wounds will come out in the summer of 2011.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Det. Roland March is a homicide cop on his way out.
A missing girl. A corrupt investigation. They thought they could get away with it, but they forgot one thing:

Roland March is BACK ON MURDER...

Houst…

Book Review: "Premiere" by Melody Carlson

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A recipe for success or a design for disaster? Although they're sisters, Paige and Erin Forrester are like oil and water, night and day, denim and silk. Paige is an outgoing fashionista who loves to be the center of attention, while Erin is more comfortable sporting vintage garb and recording the action around her. When a near disaster turns into the opportunity of a lifetime, these two very-different sisters are given the chance to star in their own fashion-TV show. A guest spot on a hot teen-reality series and their first big red-carpet assignment give this unlikely partnership plenty of room for success-and even more for failure.

I swear Melody Carlson's YA books keep getting better and better with each new series she comes out with. I don't know how she manages to write so many and keep coming up with new ideas in each one but they have all been fantastic. What I really liked about this book was the fact that the story portrays two girls who are Christians Y…