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Showing posts from June, 2011

Book Review: "The Protector" by Shelley Shepard Gray

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Summary from Christianbook.com: When her mother passes away, Ella's forced to auction off her family's farm. Her father died years ago, and she could never manage the fifty acres on her own. But after she moves to town, she can't deny the pain she feels watching the new owner, Loyal Weaver, repairing her family's old farmhouse-everything Ella had once dreamed of doing.

What Ella doesn't know is that Loyal secretly hopes she will occupy this house again . . . as his wife. He begins inviting her over, to ask her opinion on changes he wants to make. As their friendship blooms, Ella starts to wonder about Loyal's intentions, especially when her best friend, Dorothy, hints that Loyal is not who he seems. There's no way the golden boy of their close-knit Amish community could be interested in Ella, long the wallflower, hidden away caring for her ailing parents.

I think that if I were to meet Ella, we would probably be friends. Not the toxic friendship that she ha…

Book Winner

Congrats to the winner of The Art of Forgetting:

Shonda from Me, My Book and My Couch

Book Review: "On Hummingbird Wings" by Lauraine Snelling

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Summary from BN.com: "But Mother is always dying," is Gillian Ormsby's sarcastic response when her younger, favored sister tells her that she has to go take care of their hypochondriac mother. Much against her will, since she and her mother never have gotten along, Gillian arrives in California to find the garden and yard dead, the blinds all drawn, and her mother indeed in bed—waiting to die. But when Gillian talks with the doctor, he assures her there's no medical reason behind her mother's state.

Now on a mission to restore her mother to health, Gillian insists Mother get out of bed, eat, exercise and hopefully, choose to live. She also sets about reviving the garden to its former glory, enlisting the help of Adam, a handsome man who owns a family gardening business with his father. Gillian is delighted when a pair of hummingbirds appear, and her friendship with Adam grows. Soon, Mother's health improves, and one day she announces she and her friend Enzio …

Movie Review: "Kung Fu Panda 2"

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It's been awhile since I've been to theater. After the Best Picture Showcase where I spent over 12 hours watching movies straight, I was kinda theater tapped out. Plus there hadn't been anything coming out lately that I absolutely had to see. Kung Fu Panda 2 was one that I was excited about but due to trying to conserve funds, I figured that I could wait until it came out on DVD. But then as luck would have it, I had gotten a coupon for a free large popcorn AND a large drink and a GC with about 3 bucks on it. If I went during the early matinee shows, that means I only had to spend $3 bucks on my whole outing. Also my sister had gone to see KFP2 and told me she bawled while watching. Since the two of us tend to cry at the same movie, that totally sold me on going. Yes, I love a good cryfest at the theater.

If you haven't seen the first Kung Fu Panda movie, I highly recommend watching it. It is probably my family's favorite non Pixar/non Disney animated film. …

Book Review: "Forever After" by Deborah Raney

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Summary from BN.com: Lucas Vermontez was a proud firefighter like his father. Now, not only has he lost his father and his best friend, Zach, in the fire at the Grove Street homeless shelter, but the devoted rookie can no longer do the work he loves after being crippled in the tragic event. When friendship with his buddy’s beautiful widow turns into more, he wonders, what could he possibly offer Jenna? Jenna Morgan is trying to grieve her husband’s death like a proper widow, but the truth is, she never really loved Zach. His death feels more like a relief to her. But that relief is short-lived when she loses her home and the financial support of her in-laws. Now the secrets of her past threaten to destroy her future. Can the two forget the painful past and discover new reasons to live and love?

There's quite a few things to like about this book. Firefighters, dogs, romance, conniving in-laws. Ok maybe not so much the last thing, but the other three definitely play a big role i…

Book Review: "Unlocked" by Karen Kingsbury

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Summary from the publisher: Holden Harris is locked in a prison of autism, bullied by kids who don’t understand his quiet, quirky ways. Ella Reynolds, star of the school drama production takes an interest in Holden after she catches him listening to her rehearse for the school play. Will friendship, faith, and the power of song be enough to unlock the miracle that Holden needs?

If you've ever read a Karen Kingsbury book then you know what to expect when you read this book. If you've never read a Karen Kingsbury book before, well all I have to say is that it's like reading a soap opera. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with soap operas but there's as much drama in this book as you find on daytime TV. Of course it's a Christian soap opera.

Since I've never personally had anyone close to me dealing with autism, I can't fully relate with what the characters are going through. From other accounts that I have read, I am assuming that what Holden&#…

My Library Reads No. 16

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My Library Reads is a spotlight on the library books that I have read during the previous week. This is not a post on what books I borrowed but books that I read. Since I don't review library books, this is a way to still be able to showcase them on my blog.

BTW, if anyone knows of another meme that is like this on another blog, could you please let me know? I don't know of any myself, but if there is one already in place, I'd like to give credit where credit is due!

Library Books read from 6/19/11 - 6/25/11

Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard (Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 3/8/11)

YA - This book is a good look at how many teen girls feel. They want to be more than what they are and sometimes don't always look to the best role models when trying to fit in. A lot of it also stems to their own parents and the relationships they have with them. Hubbard does a good job of blending these topics together …

Book Review: "Whisper on the Wind" by Maureen Lang

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Summary from BN.com: In Brussels at the height of WWI, a small, underground newspaper is the only thing offering the occupied city hope—and real news of the war. The paper may be a small whisper amid the shouts of the German army, but Edward Kirkland will do anything to keep it in print. Meanwhile, Isa Lassone, a Belgian-American socialite whose parents whisked her to safety at the start of the war, sneaks back into the country to rescue those dearest to her: Edward and his mother. But Edward refuses to go, and soon Isa is drawn into his secret life printing the newspaper . . . And into his heart.

I found myself liking this a lot better than the first book in the series. I'm not sure if it was because of the characters seemed more dimensional or because the setting was now in the city as opposed to a small town but either way, it was a more enjoyable read. The story focuses on Edward and Isa, the sister of Charles from the first book. They grew up together and are reunited dur…

Book Review: "The Wedding Writer" by Susan Schneider

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Summary from BN.com: Lucky Quinn writes up weddings for one of the hottest bridal magazines. And it wasn’t easy to get there. From humble beginnings, she outsmarted her way into the center of New York’s glamorous magazine industry – making up for her background with a sharp mind, whip-thin physique, and ceaseless ambition.

Then, in one day, her life is utterly transformed; two of the magazine’s major competitors fold, and Lucky is named Editor-in-Chief, replacing the formidable, but aging Grace Ralston, who had been at the magazine’s helm from day one. Grace taught Lucky everything she knows, but now it seems that she taught her too well…

As the ripples of Lucky’s promotion spread, the intricate lives of four women begin to unfold. Felice, Your Wedding’s elegant and unshakeable Art Director is now being shaken for the first time by troubles at home. Sara, the Fashion Director, is famed for her eagle eye for fashion trends and exquisite hair. But, for all her know-how, “the Angel of Bri…

Book Review: "Double Take" by Melody Carlson

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Summary from Christianbook.com: Madison Van Buren is fed up with Ivy League pressure, her parents' marital problems, and her boyfriend's neglect. So she hops in her car and drives west. Meanwhile, 18-year-old Anna Bronner wants to escape her tedious "simple" life. What will happen when a Manhattan socialite and an Amish girl switch places for a week?

If you have been reading my reviews for a while, then you know how much of a fan of Melody Carlson I am. I've read about 99% of all her adult and YA books and have been thrilled with almost all of them. She is one of those authors that I love to recommend, to both readers of Christian and general market fiction. I pretty much think she can do no wrong in terms of writing. That is until I read this book.

I felt like this book is trying to get into the whole Amish craze that has swept the Christian publishing industry lately. The way it's written is geared more towards older women who are fans of Amish fictio…

Book Review: "The Art of Forgetting" by Camille Noe Pagan

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Summary from BN.com: Marissa Rogers never wanted to be an alpha; beta suited her just fine. Taking charge without taking credit had always paid off: vaulting her to senior editor at a glossy magazine; keeping the peace with her critical, weight-obsessed mother; and enjoying the benefits of being best friends with gorgeous, charismatic, absolutely alpha Julia Ferrar.

And then Julia gets hit by a cab. She survives with minor obvious injuries, but brain damage steals her memory and alters her personality, possibly forever. Suddenly, Marissa is thrown into the role of alpha friend. As Julia struggles to regain her memory- dredging up issues Marissa would rather forget, including the fact that Julia asked her to abandon the love of her life ten years ago- Marissa's own equilibrium is shaken.

With the help of a dozen girls, she reluctantly agrees to coach in an after-school running program. There, Marissa uncovers her inner confidence and finds the courage to reexamine her past and take c…

Book Winners

Congrats to the winners of Cut by Patricia McCormick!

Naiche from The Book Girl Reads
Anita Y.

Spring Reading Thing Wrap Up

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Well it finally has happened. After almost 5 years of completing every one of Katrina's reading challenges, I have failed to complete this one.

Out of the 49 books I said I was going to read during this challenge, I failed to read 8 of them. I can explain this. The books I chose were the books I had scheduled to read for review back in March when the challenge started. I thought that I would be able to read all the books in time since they were scheduled to be reviewed. What I didn't count on was all the other review books that would come in during that time that needed to be reviewed before reading all those books, ie blog tours.

That being said, I did read an additional 35 books bringing my final total to 76 books in 3 months.These books were either additional review books, books I owned or the scant few that I did check out from the library.

Christian Fiction

Blood Ransom by Lisa Harris
To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer
Blood Covenant by Lisa Harris
An Unlikely Suitor by Na…

Book Review: "False Witness" by Randy Singer

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Summary from Amazon.com: Clark Shealy is a bail bondsman with the ultimate bounty on the line: his wife’s life. He has forty-eight hours to find an Indian professor in possession of the Abacus Algorithm—an equation so powerful it could crack all Internet encryption.

Four years later, law student Jamie Brock is working in legal aid when a routine case takes a vicious twist: she and two colleagues learn that their clients, members of the witness protection program, are accused of defrauding the government and have the encrypted algorithm in their possession. After a life-changing trip to the professor’s church in India, the couple also has the key to decode it.

Now they’re on the run from federal agents and the Chinese mafia, who will do anything to get the algorithm. Caught in the middle, Jamie and her friends must protect their clients if they want to survive long enough to graduate.

If you're looking for a fast paced, suspense thriller that takes you across the world and deals wit…

Book Review: "Look to the East" by Maureen Lang

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Summary from BN.com: At the dawn of the First World War, the French provincial village of Briecourt is isolated from the battles, but the century-old feud between the Toussaints and the de Colvilles still rages in the streets. When the German army sweeps in to occupy the town, families on both sides of the feud must work together to protect stragglers caught behind enemy lines.

Julitte Toussaint may have been adopted from a faraway island, but she feels the scorn of the de Colvilles as much as anyone born a Toussaint. So when she falls in love with one of the stragglers—a wealthy and handsome Belgian entrepreneur—she knows she’s playing with fire. Charles Lassone hides in the cellar of the Briecourt church, safe from the Germans for the moment. But if he’s discovered, it will bring danger to the entire village and could cost Charles his life.

Sometimes I feel like books set during WWI doesn't get as much attention in fiction as WWII stories tend to. I don't know if it's b…

My Library Reads No. 15

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My Library Reads is a spotlight on the library books that I have read during the previous week. This is not a post on what books I borrowed but books that I read. Since I don't review library books, this is a way to still be able to showcase them on my blog.

BTW, if anyone knows of another meme that is like this on another blog, could you please let me know? I don't know of any myself, but if there is one already in place, I'd like to give credit where credit is due!

Library Books read from 6/12/11 - 6/18/11

Semi-Sweet by Roisin Meaney (5 Spot, 4/25/11)

Contemporary Women's Fiction - A book about cupcakes? SOLD. This was a really fun light read. The author is Irish, who has several books out in the UK but this is her first US release and I hope more are on their way. The story deals with many characters which can be a bit confusing at first, but the main character is Hannah, a woman who is about to open a cupca…

Book Review: "Love Finds You in Tombstone, Arizona" by Miralee Ferrell

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Summary from BN.com: Love and second chances aren't easy to come by in a town named Tombstone. When Christy Grey receives an urgent summons to Tombstone, Arizona, she reluctantly leaves her new life in California. The trip goes from bad to worse when three masked men hold up Christy's stage. She finally arrives in Tombstone to find her mother ill and her brother trapped in a life of gambling. Desperate for money to support her family, will Christy bow to pressure from the local saloon owners and return to the life she thought she'd given up for good?

Nevada Keene has problems of his own. He's been dodging bullets for years and wants nothing more than to settle down and get married. But he's on the run from outlaws bent on revenge, and the one woman who captures his interest recognizes him from the stagecoach holdup. Will Christy turn Nevada in to the authorities, or will the outlaws on his trail catch him first?

I have really enjoyed Miralee Ferrell's contribut…

Book Review: "Chasing Sunsets" by Eva Marie Everson

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Summary from BN.com: Kimberly Tucker's life hasn't turned out the way she thought it would. A divorced mother of two, Kim resents her ex-husband for moving on with his life and living it up while she struggles to understand what went wrong. When her sons end up spending five weeks of summer vacation with their father, Kim's own father suggests a respite in the family vacation home on tiny Cedar Key Island. As Kim revisits her childhood memories and loves, she soon discovers that treasures in life are often buried, and mistakes—both past and present—become redeemable in God's hand.

Sometimes the beach is the best place to escape from life. If the beach is someplace you always go to however, it can bring back lots of memories - both pleasant and painful. That's exactly what Kimberly Tucker does when her divorced husband wins a court order to have her sons stay an extra week with him during summer. Her husband is the type of guy that I hate. He cheated on her, pret…

Book Review: "Ex-Girlfriends United" by Matt Dunn

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Summary from BN.com: Ever wish you could let the world know just what you think of your ex?

Thanks to SlateYourDate.com, Dan Davis has discovered that long after he's dumped them, ex- after ex-girlfriend is dumping on him-all over the Internet. And it's ruining his dating life.

Faced with the prospect of a lifetime of singledom, Dan must track down his many exes in order to put things right. Along the way, he discovers he has much to learn about himself. Particularly when he meets up again with Polly-and realizes he wants her back. Can Dan convince his former love he's changed? Can his friend Ed convince him he needs to change in the first place? And can the two friends use their newfound knowledge to help other men in the same boat?

As The Ex-Boyfriend's Handbook was one of the funniest books that I've read this year, I was thrilled to see another book featuring those lovable characters again. If you are a fan of British chick lit and are interested in seeing how …

Indelible by Kristen Heitzmann

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It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:

Kristen Heitzmann

and the book:

Indelible
WaterBrook Press (May 3, 2011)
***Special thanks to Lynette Kittle, Senior Publicist, WaterBrook Multnomah, a Division of Random House for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kristen Heitzmann’s gift of crafting stories has ranked her as the award-winning and best-selling author of two historical series and twelve contemporary, psychological and romantic suspense novels including Indivisible. …